By Jamilu Uba Adamu
A long time ago, before coining the name Kano Pillars Football Club in the year 1990, the original name of the Kano Football team was simply Kano XI.
In those old days, Kano XI was the football team that represented Kano Region in the Nationwide Nigeria Challenge Cup Competition.
Professor Adamu Baikie, in his autobiography, captured the 1953 Challenge Cup final between Kano XI versus PAN Bank, and gave his retrospective take:
“The Southern teams dominated the Challenge Cup competition, and for many years, the Cup never left Lagos.
“The crémé de la crémé of Nigeria’s players were in Lagos and concentrated such in teams as Marine, Railways, Police, Pan Bank, and many others.
“The teams from the North that made it to the Quater-finals which were played in Lagos, usually never made it to the Semi-finals. If and when they did, they were, more often than not, thoroughly beaten in the contest.
“Things took a different turn in 1953 when Kano XI qualified for the finals in Lagos. After the preliminaries, Kano and Pan Bank of Lagos emerged as the finalists.
“No one gave the Kano team a chance to win because the Pan Bank team was put together by a new bank of the same name which pumped money into the game of football.
“The venue of the match was King George the 5th Stadium at Onikan.
“Suddenly, a goal was scored by Kano.
“A second goal was scored by Kano again!
“Pan Bank pulled one back. The final whistle blew; the game was over, with Kano XI winning the Challenge Cup and taking it out of Lagos for the first time in the history of the competition.”
The mastermind behind the achievement of the glorious success was the Team Manager of the Kano XI, Late Alh. Muhammadu Danwawu MBE was a well-known leather trader.
It was said that he was passionately interested in the game of Football and spent his personal funds to promote the game.
It was also recorded that he singlehandedly supported the team and virtually sponsored the outing to Lagos.
His personal sacrifices and contributions to the successful outing in the Challenge Cup final made the then Emir of Kano, Late Abdullahi Bayero, host him and the team.
Due to his sterling contributions to sports, the Late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, appointed him the first Northern Nigeria Chairman of the Sports Commission.
Alh. Danwawu Fagge represented so much in the history of Kano Sports, especially his contributions to the development of Sports in Kano.
He was a firm believer in the power of sports to unite different tribes.
It’s also reported that when he was alive, his house at Fagge Quarters was always full of people of different ethnic backgrounds, mostly from Southern Nigeria.
Despite his visible marks across the region, it’s shocking that nothing is mentioned, whether sports infrastructure or event, in his name as a memorial, either in Kano or a notable place in Northern Nigeria by authorities past, or present.
Late Danwawu Fagge was born in 1920 and died on 23rd May 1985, but his contributions, achievements, and records of putting Kano on the football map will forever speak for him.
Allah ubangiji ya rahamta masa. Ameeen.