Technical Adviser of Akwa United Abdu Maikaba remains optimistic his team can still win the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season despite trailing leaders, Plateau United by 7 points with 6 matches left to play.
The 2015 Federation Cup (now Aiteo Cup) champions lost to El kanemi Warriors 1-0 on Sunday in Maiduguri to end a run of 4 matches without defeat. Despite the defeat to El Kanemi, ‘The Promise Keepers’ maintained 3rd spot on the NPFL Standings with 51 points from 32 matches.
In an exclusive chat with www.busybudiesng.com, Maikaba says he is hoping the Uyo-based side would go on a winning streak that will see them climb to the top of the table as they continue their quest to claim a first league title in the top flight.
“Why lose hope?” The former Wikki Tourists coach asked rhetorically. “I believe, maybe, on a good run we can win three games in a row and you’ll see us (Akwa United) on top.
“Doing that at this time will help a lot because the league is coming to an end.
“If we can get decent results in the next three games, I assure you that at the end of the season, we would be crowned champions of the league.”
If Maikaba is to realize his dream of winning the league this season with Akwa United, he will have to do so without the services of four key players currently in the home-based Super Eagles camp in Kano preparing for the 2018 CHAN qualifying match against Benin later this month. The players are defender Emmanuel Ariwachukwu, midfielders Alhassan Ibrahim, Hafiz Aremu and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi.
But the soft-spoken tactician says he has capable replacements for them.
“In our match against ABS FC which we won (3-0), none of the four players played,” he said. “So we have depth in our team.
“Players are there waiting for their opportunity and the moment they get the opportunity, you see them performing so well.
“Paterne Counou (defender) has been regular in the team but he has not been playing but he played three games in a row. That shows that we have players who can give us results whenever they are called to duty,” Maikaba stated
Akwa United’s next three games are against Sunshine Stars (away), Niger Tornadoes (home) and FC IfeanyiUbah (away).