Ashadi producing high notes for Katsina United in playmaking role

By Idowu Bakare

Destiny Ashadi is fast-becoming the chief orchestra in the setup of Katsina United in this Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season with an improved direct involvement in their goals.

The Katsina United midfielder has put together eye-catching displays this season and his incision has been a key reason his team have punched above their weights so far at the moment – placing as high as seventh place on the standings and seven points behind league leaders Lobi Stars.

One of Ashadi’s eye-catching displays was on Matchday 14 last month at MFM FC attracted not only fans but a number of MFM players took turns to have photographs with him after that contest.

Although he ended on the losing side in the Matchday 14 tie, Ashadi was arguably the best player – by a country mile – at the Agege Stadium as Katsina United crumbled 2-1 to their hosts.

The definition of a number 10; virtually all attacks came off him and he directed the pace of the tie – acting as the Chanji Boys’ metronome and was, perhaps, the only man to watch for the Olukoya Boys.

“I just like playing like that, it’s not because of the fans but because of my teammates. Everybody works together and they really help me and it allows me to do anything I want with the ball, so using the ball is what I know how to do best,” Ashadi told npfl.ng.

“If I don’t do that they won’t play so I have to do that so my teammates can play very well so that happened in the game.”

Ashadi started the move that led to the game’s curtain-raiser, with Garba Yashua on hand to finish.

And in one of the few tactical strokes to stymie the visitors’ exuberance, Fidelis Ilechukwu had to deploy tough-tackling Shola Brossa to man-mark the attacking midfielder.

But it was the decision to throw on two-goal hero Chijioke Akuneto and Nojeem Akinyemi at halftime that paid dividends, as the duo stretched the game, thus, stressing the defence of the Katsina outfit.

Tested, trusted, and capable of replicating such virtuoso performances, Ashadi is definitely one who will not be short of suitors in the coming days.

But the midfielder – who models his game around Barcelona great Andres Iniesta and German midfield conductor Toni Kroos – has other ideas. Ideals that tilt towards his development as a young footballer and finding a greener pasture.

“For an upcoming player like me, I like playing not sitting [on the bench], so I think if I am in Katsina I will have a lot of playing time.

“I’m not planning [to move] now. [However], the only plan I have is if I have any contact [outside the country] not in this country.

“I have a lot of offers even this season. Like presently one of the former champions are still calling me.

“As at last season, Akwa United, Plateau United, Lobi Stars and Enyimba (were interested). But I just like staying here because of the playing time, it’s not because of the money or anything,” he said.

Currently placed seventh in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) log after 15 games, this represents an upgrade for a Katsina United side that struggled all through last campaign and avoided relegation by whiskers.

Ashadi is upbeat about their chances this season and hopes to post impressive numbers to aid his side’s improvement.

“Last season we were almost relegated, but this season we are not going to battle relegation,” he said.

Ashadi has scored three goals and provided four assists for Katsina United this season and is up for selection when they play hosts to Katsina United this weekend.