The 2018 edition of the Ahlan Cup has come and gone but the memories will remain with us for a long time.
1. Danladi Isa (Kano Pillars): No doubt the best goalkeeper of the tournament having been left out of the starting XI in their first game against Delta Force. He claimed the starting berth and eventually proved his worth as he led his side to the trophy with some breathtaking saves as he nicked it ahead of Aliko Mustapha of Niger Tornadoes.
2. Dennis Victor (Kano Pillars): The second Pillars player to make the list. Victor has so many qualities to be compared to a modern day wing-back with his burstling runs down the flank, creating series of problems for the opposition. He weighed in a goal and an assist to be our pick.
3. Christopher Waziri (Wikki Tourists) : The first non Pillars in our list. Waziri might not be your ideal kind of wingback while attacking but his solid defensive display gave him an edge over Niger Tornadoes’ Olayinka Yusuf.
4. Ikenna Hillary (Kano Pillars): Hillary was solid in all his games at the Ahlan Cup. He gave enough room for the veteran Rabiu Ali enough to thrive in his play while doing the dirty job by picking the balls from the defense and setting up his attacking midfielders.
5. Sunday Chinedu (Kano Pillars): A difficult pick for me as he was head on with Yobe Desert Stars’ Emmanuel Okoh but the way Chinedu blended into the Pillars settings seamlessly gave him the edge as he won virtually everything he went for on air while his touches and speed made him hard to beat.
6. Abdullahi Musa (Wikki Tourists): This was not a difficult one as the CHAN Eagles player show an assured performance, solid defensively and also added a couple of goals with an assist too as his side finished second behind Kano Pillars.
7. Abdulrashid Shehu (Rarara Academy): Shehu is no doubt the youngest player on the list. Cruchia as he is popular known at 15 he already has the skills and mindset of a 25-year-old as he took on defenders at will without looking at his frame. He created more chances on the pitch of play than any other outfield play in the semi finals in the loss against Kano Pillars. He is definitely the one for the future.
8. Ali Mallam Auwalu (Kano Pillars): Ali was the reason Pillars retained the Ahlan Cup. He was at the centre of all the good moves his side made. He complimented the older Ali in the middle of the park as he won both the MVP and the highest goal scorer award with 5 goals.
9. Babangida Abubakar (Rarara Academy): Bullish in nature, skillful and deadly in the goal line area. His four goals against Okagbue FC in the opening match set a new record for the highest number of goals in a single match at the Ahlan Cup.
10. Nzube Anaezemba (Kano Pillars): It was a battle between him and new signing Bature Yaro but the former Enyimba midfielder nicked it with some solid displays as his adaptability was one of the criterion used in choosing him ahead of Bature. Scored twice as Kano Pillars retained their title.
11. Azado Isah (Niger Tornadoes): Fast, skillful and very deadly with both feet. Isah was one of the fans favourite with his close ball control and dazzling runs along the flanks. The former Yobe Desert Stars player was very instrumental as his side lost only one game in five goals winning four.
Coach: The pick is definitely Kabiru Balaria for the way he tinkered his side to win the tournament.