Kano Pillars have received warning signals ahead of their CAF Champions League qualifying fixture against Asante Kotoko of Ghana, whose coach, Kjetil Zachariassen says his players will go all out for victory next month.
Pillars, who only last weekend won the 2019 Federation Cup in Kaduna, but qualify for the Champions League by virtue of their runners-up spot in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Super-6 last month in Lagos, will now have to be on their toes to scale the hurdle from Kotoko, who have already started monitoring Sai Masu Gida’s build-up.
This follows a declaration by the Ghanaian club’s coach that his players are up for the task of overcoming Pillars across two legs, and says they are already bracing up to come out unscathed in the first tie scheduled to hold August 10 in Kano, two weeks before the return match.
Zachariassen disclosed that his side have intensified their preparations with a series of international club friendlies, the last of which was against Burkina Faso’s champions, Rahimo FC, who will battle Nigeria’s Enyimba of Aba in the CAF Champions League as well, with the coach also pointing out that they watched Pillars in Sunday’s Fed Cup final.
The Porcupines, who last season competed in the CAF Confederation Cup, where they reached the group stage, are set to face Masu Gida in the preliminary first round, with the winner over two legs progressing to meet Hafia FC of Guinea or Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in the next round.
Kotoko want to surpass their performance on their last appearance in the Champions League when they suffered a first-round elimination at the hands of Algerian club MC El Euma in 2015, and Zachariassen says he is already throwing his technical spotlight on Pillars’ current from.
Zachariassen told Footballmadeinghana: “We are monitoring them as much as we can, they played the Nigerian FA Cup final [on Sunday].
“Kano Pillars are strong offensively but possibly we will be on top of our game because we have been preparing for the past three weeks.
“All our players are ready and good enough to play. I have a first 28 but not 11. Some players [are out of training] because of slight injuries.
“That’s why we changed the entire team before the end of the game against Rahimo.
“We have our plans and alway train on everything we need and know will benefit our players.”