Kano Pillars midfielder, Ikenna Paul Hilary has admitted that his side were shocked by Asante Kotoko of Ghana in their CAF Champions League first round first leg qualifier last weekend, which the Nigerian runners-up won 3-2, but added he believes Sai Masu Gida have what it takes to hold unto their advantage in the return leg.
Although he admits they could not get the desired result at home, the ex-home-based Eagles battler added that Pillars must not dwell over the setback of conceding two goals on Saturday, as they must start preparing now for the second leg, which holds next week in Kumasi, Ghana.
Despite the presence of a highly vocal partisan crowd at Sani Abacha Stadium, Pillars failed to hold their own all the way, after opening the goals rain through Ikenna in the 13th minute of the encounter.
To their utter surprise, Kotoko’s Justice Blay headed home a corner-kick to level scores in the 55th minute and Geofrey Eseama gave the visitors the lead 10 minutes later from a free-kick, but efforts by Rabiu Ali and Gambo Muhammad in the 70th and 75th minutes respectively gave the narrow victory to Pillars.
In his reaction during Mega Sports on Star 101.5 FM, Lagos, Ikenna said it was a tough game, but added that Pillars will step up their efforts and fight harder during the reverse fixture on August 24th.
Ikenna declared: “It is not over yet, and we are not going to give up. We will start preparing immediately.
“It’s not good that we conceded those goals in the first leg. In fact, we never placed to concede any goal, but it happened.
“That is football. But we just have to recover fast and start thinking of how to win away, or get a draw.
“I am sure we will do better in the second leg. That’s what we are determined to do, and I am sure we will do it. We will not give up.”