Akwa United must win more away games to wrest control of the Nigeria Professional Football League title race starting with victory at closest challengers Kano Pillars on Sunday, gaffer Kennedy Boboye has declared.
Akwa United leapfrogged Pillars into first place with a 3-1 win over visiting Heartland on Thursday.
The win which extended the Promise Keepers’ unbeaten run to sixteen games only put them a point above the Sai Masu Gida, however, ahead of their potential title decider in Kaduna on matchday 27.
In a season where the lead has been exchanged like a baton among the top four on a nearly weekly basis, Boboye would very much like to create a bit of daylight that leaves Akwa United firmly in control of the title race.
While they’re currently on the longest unbeaten run in league history, the Uyo side has managed just two wins away from home in their 16-match unbeaten run and only three all season.
That, Boboye says, will have to change if Akwa United are serious about bringing a first top-flight crown to Uyo.
“We want to find a way to go outside and get something good for ourselves so we can be there comfortably and it’s not that when we play at home we go on top and when we play away we come down to the second position,” Boboye said following his side’s win against Heartland at the Nest of Champions.
“We need a win outside the shores of Uyo, so we can sit on top of the log comfortably.”
Sunday’s game at Pillars presents the perfect stage for Akwa United to establish their title credentials with a win that will take them four points clear at the top.
But it would be far from a stroll in the breeze for Boboye’s side against four-time NPFL winners Pillars who are unbeaten at home, boast the league’s leading scorer in the ageless Rabiu Ali and welcome back Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa from national team assignment.
Ibrahim Musa’s side will also be keen to avoid two losses on the bounce after their 10-game unbeaten run crashed to a halt at Rivers United in midweek.
With so much at stake for both sides, it promises to be an intriguing encounter at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, but Boboye who won the NPFL title with Plateau United in 2017 insists these high-stake games are the furnaces in which a team’s title credentials are forged.
“I think for you to be a champion, you must make sure you win [against] the best teams in the league,” the former Remo Stars boss said.
“Kano Pillars is one game we’re going to play on Sunday, and we don’t want anything short of a win, to prove that we are worth being the champions of this season’s league.”