Defending champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Akwa United, have kicked off their title defence campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over Kano Pillars in Uyo.
Opening day action against a decent Pillars team was the sort of test coach Kennedy Boboye was hoping to use in assessing if his team can continue the brilliant show they put up last season. And, oh yes, the champions showed class.
The first half was a cagey affair and just when the home fans thought there will be no celebration before the break, Ezekiel Bassey, broke the deadlock. The hosts took the lead into the break.
When action resumed, it didn’t take long before Stephen Chukwude opened his goal account for the Promise Keepers with a brilliant finish off Ubong Friday’s low cross.
In the 79th minute, the visitors had a chance to pull one back but Kokoette Udoh’s strike flashed across the face of goal and goes wide. That move reawakened the attacking prowess of the league champions. In the closing minutes of the match, Ubong Friday made a good run onto a long ball, dribbled Bassey Akpan cleverly, and finished calmly.
Good start to the 2021/2022 NPFL season for the Promise Keepers who showed their intent to defend the title they won in style last campaign.
Newly-promoted Remo Stars produced a stunning performance to beat MFM FC 2-0 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos. This is the first league win for the Sky Blue Stars over the Olukoya Boys since 2017.
Akanni Qudus gave the visitors the lead in the 55th minute, and Andy Okpe with an easy tap in at goal placed the icing on the cake. New manager, Gbenga Ogunbote, praised his team for not respecting the hosts and wants the team to continue the season-opening form in the next home match against Heartland FC of Owerri.
Enugu Rangers also got their league campaign to a flying start with a 1-2 win over Katsina United. The Flying Antelopes gave new manager, Abdul Maikaba the sort of experience he needed to get things going.
Ossy Martins is still on fire. He continued his impressive league form to score a brace for the visitors. The former Lobi Stars man opened the scoring in the 13th minute, Saliu Mustapha, scored to level up for the hosts. In the 54th minute, Martins scored again to give Rangers a vital away victory.
Shooting Stars of Ibadan, also making a return to the top flight held another newcomer, Gombe United to secure a vital away point on the road.
Enyimba Rules Abia Derby
Enyimba Football Club of Aba continued their dominant display in the Abia Derby with a 2-1 win over Abia Warriors.
The Peoples Elephant got the lead through Ekene Awazie’s goal in the 34th minute. Proceedings stayed that way till the second half when Paul Samson equalized for the visitors. Coach Finidi George made some useful changes to take control of the game and in the 77th minute, Chigozie Obasi, scored the winner.
Meanwhile, in Owerri, it was goals galore. Visiting Nasarawa United held Heartland FC to a 3-3 draw. Some familiar names in the goalscorers sheet include Chinedu Ohanachom and a brace by Otegbeyi Ajibola.
In Ilorin, Dakkada FC was no match for last season’s surprise package, Kwara United. Steven Jude’s brace and one from Junior Lokosa sealed a 3-0 win for the Harmony Boys who will be looking forward to repeating their impressive performance from the last campaign.
In Makurdi, Lobi Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Rivers United, Niger Tornadoes beat Plateau United 1-0 while the game between Sunshine Stars and Wikki Tourists couldn’t hold because the Elephants failed to show up. The League Management Company (LMC) is yet to make an official statement on the situation
Governor Emmanuel Udom has promised a reward of N100m to Akwa United for their title-winning feat in the last Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
The Akwa Ibom governor said this during a reception for the team at the Government House in Uyo on Thursday.
“I just want to say thank you for making the state proud. Becoming champions is a thing of joy to all Akwa Ibomites. Keep that winning flag flying and we will continue to support the team to succeed,” he said, in addition to giving a plot of land to each member of the team and a brand new 32 seater Coaster bus.
“You have gone to the top, you have to redouble your effort this new season to ensure you remain at the top, once again congratulations for winning the league title”.
Aside from the governor, the Chairman of the club, Paul Bassey, was also on ground and appreciated the Akwa Ibom leader for his gesture.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to Governor on Sports, the club is determined to defend the trophy.
“A little over six years in the saddle, Akwa United established 24 years ago, won three major trophies in 2015, 2017 and the historic league trophy this year 2021,” he added.
“Your Excellency, thank you, your tireless and unrelenting funding of development potential in our youths have in the recent years brought about a total explosion of talents in all the broad fields of sports.
“The entire Akwa United family is determined to march out and defend the trophy we won last year this coming season”.
The governor’s gesture is coming about four months after Akwa United won their first league title. They had 71 points from 38 matches.
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) title holder, Akwa Utd shocked visiting Algeria champions, CR Belouizad with a lone goal in the CAF Champions League preliminary first leg encounter on Sunday.
The lone goal was netted in the 87th minute by team captain, Ubong Friday, to the amazement of the enthusiastic fans at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
Akwa Utd head coach Kennedy Boboye, during a post match interview, attributed the win to the players’ commitment on the field, in spite of being new entrants in the CAF competition.
Boboye expressed optimism that the boys would fill in the noticeable gaps to ensure victory as they go for a return leg in Algeria.
“We approached the match with the determination to win, and it paid off though it was not easy because the Algerians were more experienced,” Boboye added.
Akwa United have been crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season after producing a remarkable 5-2 victory over MFM FC in Uyo on matchday 37 in Uyo.
Charles Atshimene capped a fine performance with a hat-trick and improved his goals count to 18 this season. Akwa United confirmed their intention to win the league after recorded the longest unbeaten run of 18 games.
The Promise Keepers have also kept the most-clean sheets this campaign.
This is the first time the Promise Keepers will be winning the NPFL title since the club was established 25 years again. But it is the second time coach Kennedy Boboye will be winning the trophy, he also led Plateau United to win their first league title in 2017.
MFM came to Uyo in fine form after FC Ifeanyi Ubah 0-2 in Enugu in a rescheduled fixture to consolidate their position on the league table. A win over Akwa United in Uyo would have one they will relish but they knew it was an almost impossible task.
23 minutes into the match, man on fire, Charles Atshimene won an aerial battle and sent his header into the back of the net to give the hosts the lead.
With spectators at the Nest of Champions singing, dancing and hailing their team, the Promise Keepers came out in search of more goals. They mounted pressure on the visitors and force in an own goal just before half-time. Samuel Amadi’s effort was sent into the net by Ubukama Peter after good pressure by Charles Atshimene.
Akwa United took a 2-0 lead into the break.
When action resumed, Mfon Udoh scored the third goal with a stunning finish after a good work by Ubong Friday. That was Udoh’s 8th goal of the season. But the hopes of keeping a clean sheet were dashed in the 67th minute when the Olukoya Boys were awarded a penalty. Michael Mbonu sent goalkeeper Efala the wrong way and scored.
Akwa United came out for more goals. Substitute, Wisdom Fernando made immediate impact sending in a fine cross for Atshimene to score his second goal of the encounter. MFM pulled one back before the former Warri Wolves striker sealed his hat-trick.
A seven-goal thriller and a maiden league title was quality football experience for spectators at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium who have waiting for this day since 1997.
Akwa United Football Club of Uyo have taken a bold step towards winning the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League title after a convincing 3-0 victory over Warri Wolves.
With the victory, the Promise Keepers have also opened a 6-point lead at the top of the table and it’s looking good for them because Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United recorded losses on matchday 34.
Warri Wolves, playing to avoid the drop were out of ideas on how to stop a team who were within touching distance to the league title. Seven minutes into the match, Ikechukwu Nwani fired a shot towards the goal and it was handled by Warri Wolves defender. Penalty to Akwa United. Charles Atshimene who is enjoying good form stepped up to the spot and scored his 13th goal of the season.
The hosts weren’t done. They wanted more and kept pushing till they doubled the lead in the 26th minute. Samuel Amadi penetrated the visitors’ defense lie and combined well with Ubong Friday who curled the ball into the net. Akwa United took a 2-goal lead into the break.
When play resumed, the Promise Keepers continued were they stopped in the first. In the 58th minute, Samuel Amadi directed a delightful corner kick towards Atshimene, the striker followed with a beautiful header to secure his brace and a 3-0 lead for coach Kennedy Boboye’s team. It’s Atshimene’s 14th goal of the season and Akwa United’s 17th win of the campaign. The defeat is the 18th for Warri Wolves this season and a major setback to their relegation fight.
Rangers International Football Club recorded their 16th win of the season with a 2-0 win over Kano Pillars. It is a humbling defeat for Sai Masu Gida who also had league title ambitions with Akwa United just before the match. An early goal by Christian Nnaji gave the Flying Antelopes a good start to the encounter. Just before half-time, midfielder, Archibong Eso doubled the lead for coach Salisu Yusuf’s team. In the second half, they defended the goals to secure a vital win. Kano Pillars will remain in third position with 58 points.
At the Aper Aku Stadium, Nasarawa United put up a fight against Lobi Stars, but it was not just good enough to stop them from losing 3-2. Silas Nwankwo scored both goals for the Solid Miners to increase his goal count to 16 but his team will leave Makurdi with nothing. Mathias Martins also bagged a brace for Lobi but it was Austin Ogunye’s goal just at the start of second half that secured the win for Coach Kabiru Dogo’s team. They are now 7th on the log with 53 points. Nasarawa United maintains their 2nd spot with 58 points.
At the Agege Stadium in Lagos, MFM FC beat Plateau United 3-1 to get into the top 10. The reliable Akanni Elijah scored a brace while Tunde Azeez goal in the 74th minute wrapped up a fine performance for the Olukoya Boys. Defender Ibrahim Buhari scored the only goal for Plateau United.
Rivers United’s hopes to return to the top four was dashed after they lost 2-1 to Jigawa Golden Stars while Abia Warriors proved they can fight to stay in the league with a 2-1 victory over Heartland FC. Meanwhile, the struggle of Sunshine Stars is not yet over. The Owena Whales played a goalless draw with Katsina United in Akure, putting themselves under more pressure as the relegation battle gets intense.
Charles Atshimene scored a late penalty to give Akwa United a crucial 1-0 win over Enyimba FC, opened a five-point lead at the top, and took a huge step towards the league title.
The Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 32 fixture was played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. After matchday 31, the Promise Keepers maintained their top position but just two points kept them away from the impressive Kano Pillars and high-scoring Nasarawa United.
The first leg encounter, a matchday 12 fixture played in Aba ended 1-1. Defended, David Philip scored in the 94th minute to rescue a point for Akwa United after a spirited performance by the visitors. Enyimba got into today’s fixture to avenge that result.
It was a tense game and it was confirmed in the 12th minute when Marshall Johnson was pushed down and could not continue after receiving medical attention. He was replaced by Dare Ojo.
Moments later, Ikechukwu Nwani won an aerial ball and sets it up for Sampson Gbadebo whose low drive narrowly miss the target. Great attempt! Enyimba responded. Anayo Iwuala went down after being challenged by Olisa Ndah. Free kick to Enyimba. The effort couldn’t beat the wall, Samuel Amadi cleared it out to safety.
The first half ended goalless. In the second half, both sides went at each other but couldn’t find the goal. Akwa United created a chance in the 64th minute but didn’t take it. Gbadebo sent a long ball forward, Atshimene controlled it so well and set it up for Ubong Friday whose strike went across the face of the goal and goes wide. Enyimba initiated a fine move that ended with Iwuala releasing a shot but it was deflected into the side of the net.
In the 86th minute, Mfon Udoh had a good drive into the box and was brought down. Penalty to Akwa United! Atshimene stepped up to the spot and scored to give coach Kennedy Boboye’s team their 16th win of the season. It was also a record-breaking performance since 2013 (LMC era) for goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka who recorded his 16th clean sheet of the season. Adeyinka broke Suraj Ayeleso’s record of 15 clean sheets for Nasarawa United in the 2016/2017 season. The Promise Keepers also consolidated their top position with 60 points while Enyimba will stay on 52 points.
Kano Pillars, Nasarawa United Setback
Before matchday 32 action, Kano Pillars and Nasarawa United, two major contenders for the top position with Akwa United, failed to close the gap. Both teams were hoping to continue their fine form from matchday 3-1. Pillars thrashed Lobi Stars 3-0 while Nasarawa United beat Jigawa Golden Stars 3-1.
In Akure, Kano Pillars went against a rejuvenated Sunshine Stars team. Beating Heartland FC 0-1 in Owerri in their last match, the Owena Whales, fighting to avoid the drop were ready to take the heat to Sai Masu Gida.
Coach Deji Ayeni retained the same team that stunned Heartland to secure a second away win this season and the team delivered. Babatunde Bello came close to open the scoring for the hosts in the 29th minute but Pillars goalkeeper stopped him. Ifegwu Ojukwu’s effort in the 40th minute was also stopped. The first half ended goalless.
When play resumed, Sunshine Stars kept knocking on the door of the visitors till they opened. In the 59th minute, the reliable Sadeeq Yusuf scored the only goal of the match to secure an important victory. It is Yusuf’s 12th goal of the season, the team’s 9th win of the campaign, and good enough to lift them off the relegation zone. The result dropped Kano Pillars to 4th on the log.
In Nnewi, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, also battling relegation, laboured to a 2-1 victory over Nasarawa United. The Anambra Warriors fell 3-0 to Katsina United in their last match, losing to the Solid Miners would have been disastrous to their league campaign.
The hosts played with intent and in the 29th minute took the lead through Nonso Nzediegwu’s goal. The visitors, playing with the top spot position agenda needed just 2 minutes to respond through Chigozie Obasi. The defender fired in a free-kick from 40 yards, his 4th goal of the season. 1-1. Game on!
It was a tight encounter with both sides in a desperate search for victory. The Solid Miners were reduced to ten men after Sadiq Abdurazaq received a second yellow card for a foul. The hosts capitalised on the man advantage and in the 70th minute, Uzochukwu Ifejiofor delivered the win for the Anambra Warriors to seal just their 8th victory of the season, they improved to 34 points but still rooted in the relegation zone. Nasarawa United retained the second position but now tied on 55 points with Rivers United and Kano Pillars.
Back To Winning Ways
At the Okigwe Township Stadium, after losing five consecutive matches, Abia Warriors returned to winning ways with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Kwara United. The Warriors have been struggling and had to dig deep to secure a win over a determined team from Ilorin.
With just five minutes into the encounter, Jide Fatokun stunned the hosts with a goal. It was a screamer! Early lead for the visitors and more worry for coach Imama Amapakabo. The visitors took the lead into the break.
In the second half, the Warriors deployed all they had in search of a goal and they found it in the 66th minute through Paul Samson. It was his 7th goal of the season. From the 80th minute, the match became a tale of Obioma Chukwuemeka.
In the 83rd minute, Chukwuemeka scored but the goal was disallowed. The home spectators couldn’t take it, they felt cheated. The deliberations on the canceled goal halted play for some time. When play resumed, Chukwuemeka took things personal.
He capitalised on a defensive error to shoot the hosts into the lead and the eventual winner. With the hard-fought victory, Abia Warriors, climbed to the 14 position with 38points while the Harmony Boys dropped to the 7th position on 52points. Up next for the Warriors will be Wikki Tourist of Bauchi in Bauchi.
At the Cathedral in Enugu, Rangers International Football Club also returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wikki Tourists of Bauchi. The Flying Antelopes suffered a 2-0 defeat at Kwara United in their last match and another defeat would have dented their league ambitions. The game against Wikki Tourists was a good test on their character and consistency and they passed it.
An early goal by Godspower Anifiok got the hosts rolling. They sustained the momentum and moments later, Ugochukwu Ugwoke doubled the lead. An own-goal scored by Ernest Governor was the only consolation the visitors took back home. Another win for the Flying Antelopes, their 15th this season, they have gathered 52 points and 7th on the log.
Rivers United also got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over struggling Warri Wolves. The last result for the Pride of Rivers was a 1-1 draw with Enyimba in Aba and the matchday 32 objective was to consolidate on that result.
But it was the visitors who had the first laugh when Emmanuel Ihezuo gave them the lead. Rivers United responded through Godwin Aguda in the 23rd minute. Aguda completed his brace in the 60th minute to secure victory for coach Stanley Eguma’s team who are now 3rd on the log with 55 points.
In Makurdi, Nnamdi Mejuobi’s first-half goal gave Lobi Stars a 1-0 win over Adamawa United, Jigawa Golden Stars beat Plateau United 1-0 while the game between MFM FC and Katsina United in Lagos ended goalless.
On Saturday, Dakkada FC defeated Heartland FC 1-0 to record their 14th win of the season and moved to 9th on the league table. Matchday 32 recorded 17 goals, 9 wins and a draw.
The much anticipated Nigeria Professional Football League matchday 22 encounter between Akwa United and Rangers International FC ended in a goalless draw at the Nest of Champions in Uyo.
The hosts, Akwa United, with a flawless home record, hoped to use the match to consolidate their top spot on the league standings. The Flying Antelopes were hoping to bounce back after losing 1-0 to Rivers United in Enugu on matchday 21.
The Promise Keepers created the first chance of the match in the 2nd minute of the match when in-form player, Charles Atshimene gave a pass to Mfon Udoh but the striker’s effort was saved by goalkeeper Seidu Mutawakilu.
The game advanced with both teams trying to understand how to get the goals but it was really tight in the middle. In the 20th minute, Etim Matthew suffered a knock and was replaced by Otobong Effiong.
Just before half-time, referee Grema Mohammed got busy, he showed yellow cards to Dare Ojo of Akwa United and Tony Shimaga of Rangers. The first half ended with cautions.
In the second half, things got heated, the game became physical and the referee unleashed more yellow cards. Captain of the home side, Otobong Effiong wasn’t forgiven in the 55th minute when he brought down Olawoyin.
In a bid to turn things around, coach Kennedy Boboye made a triple substitution in the 65th minute. Mfon Udoh, Ubong Friday and Ikechukwu left the field for Nasiru Jibril, Wisdom Fernando and Abubakar Aliyu.
The changes brought some sparks with Abubakar Aliyu making some dazzling runs that troubled the Rangers’ defence. He made an instant impact when he forced goalkeeper Seidu to make a save to a goal-bound effort.
There was a scary moment for the hosts when Dare Ojo fouled Ibrahim Olawoyin in a dangerous position. Freekick awarded to the Flying Antelopes. Game time is 80 minutes old, Kelvin Itoya stepped up to the role but his effort couldn’t go beyond the wall.
The closing minutes of the game produced drama. Goalkeeper Seidu was booked for time wastage and the next moment, substitute Issif Traore was sent off for a foul on Atshimene who was chasing a long ball.
Freekick to Akwa United. Defenders David Philip and Olisa Ndah are positioned to take it. Ndah takes it but the ball goes wide. The referee’s final whistle goes off. Game over!
Coach Boboye is not so disappointed with the result. “It wasn’t a bad one. We fought hard but we just unlucky to drop two points at home. Our opponents came to defend and it worked for them.”
With the result, Akwa United extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches, retained top spot but tied on 41 points with Kano Pillars. Sai Masu Gida played 1-1 with Katsina United at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina. The reliable Rabiu Ali scored a beautiful freekick.
Akwa United’s next match is against Abia Warriors on Thursday at the Okigwe Township Stadium.
Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, made a winning return to Kano Pillars, providing an assist for Rabiu Ali to score in Sai Masu Gida’s hard fought 1-0 victory over Adamawa United on matchday 21 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Asides from the dazzling run Musa made in the opening minutes, and Fahad Usman’s curled free-kick in the 15th minute, the first-half action at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna failed to produce talking points.
Adamawa United showed Pillars no respect. They contested aerial balls, chased the game, and took it to their opponents. The first half ended goalless.
Pillars doubled their efforts in the second half. In the 70th minute, they cracked the walls of Adamawa United when Rabiu Ali was brought down in the box and a penalty was awarded to Pillars.
Ali stepped up to the task and sent the ball to the heavens. Relief for the visitors. That’s the first time the reliable Ali will be missing from the spot this season.
Ten minutes later, he made amends for his miss when he received a fine pass from Musa to score his eighth goal of the season. That goal meant so much to Pillars league ambition.
Sai Masu Gida have now recorded 12 wins this season, they are third on the log. It’s the 13th defeat for Adamawa United and they are still bottom of the log.
Unstoppable Akwa United
Akwa United extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches with a 2-0 victory over Dakkada FC in the Uyo derby. Man on fire, Charles Atshimene scored both goals for coach Kennedy Boboye’s team.
As early as 10 minutes into the match, Atshimene received an assist from Etim Matthew to smash Akwa United into the lead from 15 yards.
When the second half resumed, Atshimene wasted no time in securing his brace. Assisted by Akarandut Orok, he curled in the ball from 20 yards to score his 6th goal of the season. The win ensured Akwa United stays unbeaten with 40 points now and retain the top position on the log.
Akwa United’s next match is a home fixture against Rangers International Football Club.
Kwara United returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Plateau United. Coach Abdullahi Biffo’s team lost top spot position after losing to Nasarawa United on matchday 20. Still the surprise team of the season, the Harmony Boys are second on the log, they are still unbeaten at home and yet to drop below the top four.
Away Teams Prevail
Matchday 21 produced a tale of away victories. Four!
In Ozoro, MFM Football Club of Lagos stunned Warri Wolves 0-2 to keep their season’s hopes alive.
First-half goals from Ifeanyi Onyebuchi and Clement Ogwu secured the 7th win of the campaign for the Olukoya boys who are now 13th on the log. The hosts had a chance to pull one back in the 68th when they were awarded a penalty but Mark Daniel failed to score from the spot.
He sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, but his effort went wide. Warri Wolves were condemned to an 11th defeat this season, they’ve won just 5 games and dropped to 17th on the log.
Nasarawa United travelled to Bauchi to secure a crucial 1-2 win over Wikki Tourists. The Solid Miners needed to consolidate on their 2-1 victory over Kwara United on Matchday 20 and they did just that. Same guys who got the job done in Lafia, continued their fine form in Bauchi.
It was the home side that opened the scoring in the 22nd minute through Manu Garba. It didn’t take long before Anas Yusuf leveled up for the visitors. Silas Nwankwo scored the winner in the opening minutes of the second to seal the 6th spot on the log for coach Bala Nikyu’s team.
In Enugu, an early goal scored by Godwin Aguda from close range was good enough to give Rivers United victory over Rangers International FC. It is the 6th defeat of the season for the Flying Antelopes who were hoping to consolidate their chase for the top spot. The win shot the Pride of Rivers into the top four.
The Struggles of Sunshine Stars, FC Ifeanyi Ubah
FC Ifeanyi Ubah struggles continued with a 2-0 loss to Lobi Stars in Makurdi. Ossy Martins and Monday Akile goals gave coach Kabiru Dogo’s team their 9th win of the season.
In Owerri, Heartland FC made it back-to-back wins in the league with a 2-0 win over Katsina United.
The first half by Bright Onyedikachi and Kelechi Chimezie secured maximum points for coach Fidelis Ilechukwu’s team and shot them to 7th on the table.
In Akure, the winless run of Sunshine Stars continued after they played a goalless draw with Jigawa Golden Stars. Coach Gbenga Ogunbote’s team have failed to record a win since their matchday 7 victory over Rangers International. It’s now 14 games without a win and they are comfortably in the relegation zone.
“We have been involved in an accident along Ezionye Express road in Enugu on our way to Kaduna for our NPFL Match-day 15 game against Jigawa Golden Stars,” the club tweeted on their official handle, sharing photos of the incident.
“Players and officials have sustained injuries. One player and two officials have been taken to the hospital.”
We have been involved in an accident along Ezionye Express road in Enugu on our way to Kaduna for our NPFL Match-day 15 game against Jigawa Golden Stars. Players and officials have sustained injuries. One player and two officials have been taken to the hospital pic.twitter.com/KJvQsr3XJj
The team’s bus reportedly had a head-on collision with a truck as the NPFL side left their base in Uyo for the clash.
NPFL teams have in recent times had it rough on the road. Wikki Tourists of Bauchi had their bus razed by fire on their way to honour a football match with Dakkada FC. The incident happened on March 2nd.
Just a day after the incident, Kano Pillars’ vehicle also caught fire. The team were heading for an NPFL game in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Kwara United equally escaped a similar incident as they travelled back from Enugu to Ilorin after a league clash. Their bus had developed a mechanical fault as they left the Southeastern state.
Earlier this season, gunmen attacked Akwa United’s team vehicle as they were on their way for a match with MFM FC in Lagos. Their bus driver was abducted. He was, however, released after a few days.
Akwa United have moved to fifth on the Nigeria Professional Football League table after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Plateau United on matchday 11 at the Nest of Champions in Uyo.
Charles Atshimene scored his second goal of the season to give the Promise Keepers their fifth win of the season.
It was also a match of two opposing managers. Akwa United manager, Kennedy Boboye previously managed Plateau United. Abdul Maikaba handed over to Coach Boboye when he moved to Plateau United.
Akwa United, still trying to recover from the pain of defeat on matchday 10 by Nasarawa United, understood they cannot make the sort of errors that caused their fall in Lafia.
The first half didn’t produce many goal scoring chances. But Charles Atshimene got a clear chance at goal in the 42nd minute but failed to convert. He had lots of space in the box, turned to shoot but it was wide.
The first half ended goalless but centre referee Bala Marwan was busy. Before the break, he had shown yellow cards to Plateau United’s Moses Effiong and goalkeeper Chinedu Anozie. Akwa United’s captain Ubong Friday and Etboy Akpan also received yellow cards.
The home side continued their search for a goal in the second half and found it in the 53rd minute. Ndifreke Effiong had a good run on the flank and sent in a low cross to Charles Atshimene who had time to control the ball and shot confidently to beat goalkeeper Anozie who was hoping to record a seventh clean sheet.
Moments after the goal was scored, the no-nonsense referee Marwan showed a second card to Etboy Akpan and he received his marching orders. Akwa United had a huge task of defending their lead for 27 minutes minus additional time.
Plateau United took control of the game, had chances going forward but they were not good enough to record a goal. The home side defended so well and even had moments when they could have doubled their lead.
Coach Maikaba’s team failed to take advantage of the man advantage and lost the match. It is the fifth of the season for Plateau United who have recorded just three wins in 10 matches. Their matchday 10 fixture against Rivers United did not hold because their opponent was busy with continental action.
Newly unveiled head coach of Akwa United John Obuh says winning the Nigeria Professional League Title with Akwa United is a realistic goal.
In an interview on Channels TV’s Sports Tonight, Coach Obuh confirmed that with the philosophy and administration of the club, winning the league title this season is possible.
He said, ”It is very realistic. If a team has won the Aiteo Cup twice, finished top in their group in the abridged league, competed at the Super 6 and were only unfortunate not win, their major goal will always be to win the league title.
“They have always been a good contender for the title, so they can’t be ruled out of it this season. It is not a tall order, I believe we can do it. It is a project for everyone at the club, the old and new players, the coaches. Everyone is working so hard, we think we can do it.”
The former Flying Eagles Coach who recently signed a 1-year contract with Akwa United, has former Eagles player, Duke Udi as assistant coach. He revealed it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“That has been my ambition for sometime. I started nursing the ambition of coaching Akwa United ten years ago. It was always rumoured that I will join the club even when I was engaged somewhere else. So when the opportunity came, I didn’t hesitate to take it because it is an organised club.”
Asides his personal ambition, coach Obuh had other reasons that made him join Akwa United.
“The time they were asking for CVs of coaches, I submitted mine and was called for an interview in Uyo. The interview was nice, the questions were technical and intelligent. I considered the fact that they have a good playing pitch, they have a good administrator and have been in the league for sometime now. The governor is also willing to sponsor the team, the only charge is that the team should impress and the sponsorship will always be good. That’s what every coach wants. That’s why it was easy for me to join Akwa United.”
Akwa United have registered a total of 35 players for the 2019/2020 NPFL season, 15 of them are new to the club but coach Obuh says it won’t be a problem to their league ambition.
Obuh explained that massive recruitment was done because the club players are always moving and they must be replaced.
He said the recruited players have quality and experience, making it easy for them to blend with the older players at the club.
Akwa United will open their 2019/2020 campaign with an away fixture against Warri Wolves on Sunday, 3rd November.
Akwa United Football Club have officially unveiled new head coach John Obuh and his assistant Duke Udi for the upcoming 2019/2020 NPFL season scheduled to kick-off on 3rd November.
Obuh who signed a 1-year contract with Akwa United has set a target of winning the NPFL title with the Uyo based side.
The experienced John Obuh featured for many top clubs including Abiola Babes, Udoji United, Julius Berger, Sharks FC, Enugu Rangers, and Enyimba as a player. The Abia State-born coach started his coaching career in 1994/1995 season as a coach-player with Enyimba of Aba. He has also worked with the National Under-17 team- the Golden Eaglets and the National Under-20 team- the Flying Eagles between 2008-2013.
Obuh has a CAF B coaching license, English FA International coaching license and German Football A license. His last assignment in the NPFL was with Kwara United in 2018 where he led the team to gain promotion from the Nigeria National League to the Nigeria Professional Football League.
Also joining Akwa United’s technical crew for the new season is former Super Eagles, Grasshopper of Switzerland and Akwa United defender Duke Udi as the Deputy Head Coach.
Udi has previously worked as a coach with Giwa FC, Enugu Rangers, Sunshine stars amongst others. He has agreed a one year deal with the Promise Keepers.
The two-time Federation Cup champions have registered a total of 35 players for the new league season. To execute the season’s business effectively, the club has also acquired 15 new experienced players comprising three goalkeepers, four defenders, four midfielders and four forwards players.