Babawo aims high with Niger Tornadoes

By Andrew Randa

Niger Tornadoes are a team that have no stars, at least, that is how two-goal hero Ibrahim Babawo summarises their setup.

The soft-spoken defender-turned-attacker was the centre of attraction after an incredible shift against visiting Lobi Stars of Makurdi in a Matchday 17 game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja.

Babawo scored twice to lead Tornadoes to a 2-1 win but refused to acknowledge he was man of the match insisting the whole of the team should have been awarded the accolade.

Not one for the cameras, Babawo comes across as shy and unassuming off the field of play, but on the pitch, he is fearless and daring.

Maybe those attributes and his physical abilities made Tornadoes coach Abubakar Bala to put him a little up-field than his conventional defensive position.

Babawo has repaid that faith and has been one of the team’s impressive offensive players delivering the goals and assists.

He was everywhere on the pitch against Lobi and if not for his profligacy in the first half, he would have scored a hat-trick in the game against Lobi.

The versatile player told that he wants to keep improving and help Niger Tornadoes get a ticket to play continental football next year.

“The man-of-the-match award should go to all my team-mates and not just me because it was a team effort from all of us from the goalkeeper to the midfielders and strikers,” he said.

“I was just lucky I was in the right place at the right time to score the goals but credit must go to my team-mates.

“My coach has instilled the confidence in me to go on the pitch and do what I have been doing in training. I want to continue to do my best for the team, that is the most important thing."

Babawo’s switch from defence to attack has seen him become a fans’ favourite at the Confluence Stadium with his enterprising runs and all round display.

Despite seemingly enjoying the attention, Babawo insists he will play anywhere as far as the team win which is the aim any time he steps on the pitch.

“I like playing in the attack than in defence but I will play anywhere the coach wants me to play. I am a team player. Team glory comes before any other thing,” Babawo revealed.

“We have a goal and that is to get a continental ticket at the end of the season. For me that is where my focus is and like I said I will gladly play anywhere as far as we win. I want to win things with Niger Tornadoes.”

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