- Published on Saturday, 04 November 2017 15:18
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By Joshua Tekidek
Wikki Tourists have began preparation in earnest for the 2017/18 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after a disappointing performance in the last campaign.
The fortunes of the club on the playing pitch nosedived following the departure of Abdu Maikaba who joined Akwa United at the start of last season's campaign as head coach having led them to top-four places in 2016 and 2015.
Wikki also suffered further hits in their playing personnel when two of their prized gladiators Godwin Obaje and Alhassan Ibrahim moved to rival clubs FC Ifeanyiubah and Akwa United respectively.
Now they are looking to reboot to begin a new era. The Bauchi club have began their pre-season programme three weeks ago, and npfl.ng has been able to sight a handful of players from other top division sides training with the Giant Elephant.
Among players sighted in one of the training sessions of Wikki are Kano Pillars quartet of Bala Zaka, Nafiu Kabuga, Muktari Ali and Nura Ibrahim. Also, Mighty Jets goalkeeper Emeka Onyia is in Bauchi.
No concrete agreements have been reached with these players.
On the other hand, there are a number of high-profile departures at Wikki that include Mubarak Umar, Richard Jonathan, Yau Hassan, VAT Wonder Goal 6 winner Ahmed Usman and Peter Ambrose who has left the country for a club abroad.
Interestingly, the club have transfer-listed their first-choice goalkeeper Emeka Nwabulu, Emenike Onuoha and Chukwudi Samuel.
The club's general manager, Mallam Auwalu Babajada told npfl.ng that the coaching crew led by Bala Nikyu will remain in charge for next season as they look to
"This is the best time to form a formidable team in order to do well, you know the win-at-all-costs syndrome is no longer there and if you have a good team you can win anywhere.
"If you witness the preparations of last year and this one you will see that there is a lot of changes. We have people we have invited from Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs and we have discussed with them and we hope they will be on our November pay roll.
"We have invited about 12 to 13 players who have tested NPFL action. We don't accept people who have not played in the league. We however accept young ones who we are sure will blend before the league starts.
"We are sticking with the technical crew so therefore there will be no changes. This is a man (Nikyu) who took the job when the team was (in) 19th (position) on the log and was able to succeed, we will give him the chance to build his team and see his performance next season," Babajada said.
Wikki are gearing up to take part in pre-season tournaments including the Shehu Dikko Pre-Season Competition in Kaduna.
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