Technical Adviser of Akwa United Abdul Maikaba has clearly stated that the desire of his team is to win the 2017 Aiteo Cup in order to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup next year.
The ‘Promise Keepers’ who narrowly missed out of a continental spot from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), finishing fourth, on Wednesday, thrashed Shooting Stars 5-1 in Uyo to advance to the quarter final of the Aiteo Cup.
In an exclusive chat with www.busybuddiesng.com, the former Wikki Tourists handler says the 2015 Champions are now focused on reclaiming the title so as to guarantee continental football next year.
“Any competition I’m competing in, I go there to win the competition. I am not going for participation sake only,” he said.
“Now that we don’t have chance in the league, the only option we have is to concentrate and fight for the Confederation Cup position through the Aiteo Cup.
“We have only one space for that, and it means we have to be champions. That implies that we have to give our all to make sure that at the end of it, we are the champions of the Aiteo Cup, which will guarantee us a place in the (CAF) Confederation Cup.”
Winners of the Men’s event this year will pocket a whopping N25m as prize-money but Maikaba says that’s not the only motivation for the team as they are poised to repay the Akwa Ibom State government for their unflinching support to the team.
“Our aim is to perform so that we satisfy our sponsors (Akwa Ibom State Government) who have been behind us all through the season, to show them that all the motivation they have been giving to us is not going to be in vain.
“That is the only way we can show appreciation to our sponsors and if we can do that, I believe it is enough for us. But that N25m is also an additional motivation but to achieve (to win the Aiteo Cup) is the most important,” he stated.
Champions of the Aiteo Cup this year will join Enyimba, who finished 3rd in the NPFL, in next season’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Under the tutelage of Zachary Baraje, Akwa United won the competition in 2015, beating Lobi Stars 2-1 in the final.