What a difference a year makes. This time last season a home game against Adamawa United might have been met with some apprehension by Kwara United – but not anymore. They have won every Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match in the last 3 games to turn them from candidates into title contenders. They are currently on top of the NPFL ladder with 21 points from 10 games.
A combination of things can be attributed to the team’s improvement, not least the style of play that Abdullahi Biffo has instilled in his side. Last season the team had the shackles placed on them.
However, this season the former Giwa FC boss has made the bold step. It has resulted in much more adventurous play as the attacking flair of Michael Ohanu, Alao Danbani, Jude Stephen, Kabir Balogun and at times Taiwo Salawudeen has come to fore, which has also freed Jide Fatokun to stride forward and become even more dangerous.
Not only have this creative personnel been given the freedom to express themselves, but they have been able to do this at pace. Having someone as fleet of foot as Ohanu up front has given them an out ball before support arrives and this has made Kwara United incredibly dangerous on the counter.
What has made this improvement so remarkable, though, is that this new-found freedom hasn’t changed how effectively Kwara United defend as they have conceded only two goals this season at the Kwara Stadium Complex. Dele Aiyenugba has given them something different and Jide Williams has been a giant at the heart of his team’s defence, while the supporting cast of Christopher Nwaeze, Muri Oriyomi, Afeez Nosir and Mohammed Goyi.
Kwara United added quality players to their ranks in the close season, those that did come in have made a big difference.
The biggest, and most obvious, improvement is the addition of Jide Fatokun. The former Sunshine Stars ace has become central to the plans of Biffo.
A perhaps more surprising player – to some – that has made a big difference to the way Kwara United have played is the signing of Ohanu. His inclusion has allowed others to flourish.
United have the personnel available in the wide positions to be quite so cavalier going forward.
Alalade is an excellent professional and Issa Gata has been a worthy substitute.
Add to this the form of Taiwo, which has given the team a further boost and added attacking threat on the right-hand-side so much so that opponents no longer know who to target to stop Kwara United scoring. This has made them a four, five, six-dimensional team and that is something champions are made of.
So, to next weekend and a fixture against Rangers, will Kwara United fans be wary they are in danger of not picking up the points? Not one bit. Expect a high-scoring game as Biffo continues to plot what would be a truly historic first NPFL crown for the Harmony Boys.