Goalkeeper Ismaila Abdulwahab was the hero of matchday 3, as he ensured Kano Pillars remained unbeaten at the 2023 Ardova Handball Premier League in Benin, Edo State on Tuesday
Abdulwahab who doubles as the Captain of Kano Pillars, denied Niger United player, John Shagari a last second 7 metres throw as the game ended 25-25.
Niger United dominated the entire and were on the verge of becoming the first team to beat Kano Pillars since 2023 but Kano Pillars with the technical prowess of Coach Solomon Yola levelled up to maintain their unbeaten run.
In an exclusive interview with www.aclsports.com, Ismaila Abdulwahab said the team has confidence in the technical capabilities of their coach, Solomon Yola.
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Abdulwahab revealed that he has been studying John Shagari’s style of play since the 2022 National Sports Festival Zonal eliminations.
He said, “The team does not only believe in themselves but the coach, Solomon Yola. Despite trailing behind Niger United, we had absolute trust in our coach.
“When I discovered John Shagari was the player taking the last 7 metres throw, I had to quickly come in for the other goalkeeper.
“Shagari is unaware that I have been studying him since the 2022 Zonal eliminations of the National Sports Festival in Kaduna and I knew the exact place he was going to throw the ball”.
Yola told www.aclsports.com that every te at the Ardova Handball Premier League wants to beat Kano Pillars because they are back to back champions.
He said, “Handball is a very tactical game, Niger United had a last second 7 metres throw and our goalkeeper saved it. I was not under pressure because it’s either the ball is converted or it goes out; I am happy our goalkeeper caught the ball.
“The League is open and we hope to do our best; everyone wants to beat Kano Pillars HC because we are back to back champions.
“I must confess, Niger United did some good recruitment and they gave us a good fight. Anyways, we would see about the unbeaten”, Yola told www.aclsports.com
Meanwhile, a bitter Niger United HC coach, Yekini Adebayo was not satisfied with the draw. Adebayo said the game plan was to beat Kano Pillars HC and top the handball league.
“When we were fouled in the last second of the game, I was already excited that Niger United had broken the unbeaten run of Kano Pillars. But to my greatest surprise, John Shagari who has been outstanding throughout the game missed the 7 metres throw.
“I must be totally honest with you, I cannot describe what I am going through right now but I know for sure that Niger United will finish tops in the first phase of the league”, he said.
Day 3 results of the 2023 Ardova Handball Premier League-
Benue Queens 22-43 Rima Queens
Plateau Peacocks 28-17 Delta Queens
Imo Grasshoppers 22-21 Seasiders Babes
Bayelsa Queens 25-29 Bendel Dynamos
Safety Shooters 28-26 Defenders Babes
Confluence Stars 22-15 Bendel Dynamos
Police Machine 23-22 Seasiders Kings
Safety Shooters 30-19 De Defenders
Niger United 25-25 Kano Pillars
Rima Strikers 25-30 Benue Buffaloes
Correctional Boys 23-28 TojeMarine HC