Wikki Tourists have failed in their bid to win the league title in the last two seasons despite putting in a good fight. The club's new Technical Adviser, Mohammed Babaganaru in this interview with Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU however speaks about his ambition of leading the Bauchi Elephants to their first NPFL title.
Coach, it's a new job and a fresh challenge for you, how ready are you for this new task?
You are right. This is a fresh start for me. It's my third coaching job in the last three years and I want to make it a worthwhile experience.
Like I have always done in all the clubs I managed in the past, I want to make a huge impression here and make the club and the fans happy.
Let's talk about your time with Kano Pillars last season, the team failed to make much impact in the league, what in your opinion was responsible for that?
I don't think it's necessary to talk about the past. I won the title with Kano Pillars before moving over to Nasarawa United and then returned to the club again.
I prefer to talk to you about the present and the future and not go back to the past because it is something you cannot correct.
What has the experience been like since you joined Wikki Tourists?
It's been wonderful I must confess. I have been well received here and most importantly I'm coping well too.
We have some important players who have moved to other clubs, but we believe strongly in the ones that we have here and the new arrivals.
Here, we don't believe in signing big stars but making big stars. In the last two or three seasons, the club have produced players like Ifeanyi Matthew (a key member of the home based Super Eagles side that played at the Africa Nations Championship early in the year in Rwanda), and recently Godwin Obaje, league top scorer from last season.
So, we are confident of raising another set of quality players that will do well next season and beyond.
Talking about Godwin Obaje, how well do you think you can cope with his departure?
With all due respect to him, he has served this club well and also scored some vital and important goals for the club last season.
But I would say no player is indispensable. Two or three seasons ago nobody was talking about Obaje. They were talking about some other players. New stars are born in football everyday.
There was a time Pele was the main man in football, then we had Johan Cryuff, Maradonda, Ronaldo de Lima, Zidane and now people are talking about Messi and Ronaldo.
After them, there will still be a lot of stars that will dominate football.
Wikki Tourists are known for their exciting brand of attacking football. Do you wish to continue with that or you are going to implement a new style?
I love attacking football too. If you look at the teams I have handled in the past – Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United, you will see that same semblance there.
"Abdu Maikaba (former Wikki coach) is my very good friend, and we shared same coaching philosophy. The only difference people will probably see in the team will be the new players.
"In terms of playing style, things will be similar.Then you can be sure we will bring in more quality players to replace the ones that have left.
You just spoke about the new players
, how have they adapted?
I won't talk about them alone, but the team in general now. I would say we have not really have enough time to work with the team, especially on the tactical aspect of the game.
We started our pre-season exercise in Kaduna where we played a number of games before moving down here to Enugu for the Super-Four competition.
However, if you look at the performance of the players in our first game against FC Ifeanyiubah in the Super- Four, you would say we can expect a good season.
After the this competition, we will return to Bauchi for more serious work.
Do you see Wikki Tourists challenging for the league title again in the new season?
Nobody prepares for war with the intention of losing. Wikki Tourists have set a standard in the league in the last two seasons, and the expectations will be more higher going into the new season.
Personally, I believe I'm equal to the task and it will be great to win the league with this team for the first time.
Your club will be playing in the continent for the first time, what are your expectations and targets?
I don't want to set a target, but I believe we have a team that is good enough to put a good challenge in the competition.
We don't want to put ourselves under any kind of pressure. There are other teams who are well known in the continent and it will be good to show what we can do against them.
On a final note, how would you rate the standard of the league last season compare to the previous years?
The league has improved over the years and I must commend the League Management Company for a good job. We have seen improvement in the area of organisation, the playing surfaces are now better, but there are one or two areas that we still need to be worked on which I will not want to talk about now.
That should be officiating and players welfare?
You that said that, not me o (long laughter).But to be honest we need to look at the issue of players welfare, it is very important if we want to move the league forward.