NPFL: Coach John Obuh’s Akwa United Romance Ends Prematurely


Akwa United’s head coach John Obuh has ended his relationship with the 2017 Aiteo Cup Champions with “immediate effect” the club has announced.

Obuh handed in his resignation on Monday in a four paragraph letter addressed to the club chairman and dated Sunday, 15 December 2019.

Obuh was appointed on a one year contract in November prior to the start of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season after the expiration of Brazilian Rafael Everton’s contract.

While there was much fanfare surrounding the appointment of the Akwa Ibom native, a poor string of results involving one win, four draws, and three losses increasingly got fans of the Uyo-based side frustrated.

The ill feeling boiled over on Matchday 4 when a fan scaled through to the technical area and laid hands on the former Nigeria U17 national team coach after a home match which ended in a barren stalemate against Katsina United.

Akwa United has conceded nine goals in eight matches and were battered 3-0 at the Agege Stadium by MFM on Sunday.

That match proved the final straw for the beleaguered coach and the broken nature of the squad and his fading authority over his players was laid bare following an altercation between Ndifreke Effiong and Deputy Coach Duke Udi with the former expressing his disgust at being substituted by pushing the latter while also making incendiary remarks.

Explaining his reasons for terminating his contract prematurely, the former National U17 Head Coach hinged his decision to step aside on “some level of indiscipline and insubordination by some of the players which has caused the team valuable points since the start of the season”.

Reacting to Obuh’s resignation, club secretary Omon Bassey released a statement conveying the “gratitude of the chairman, for service rendered to the club” to the departed coach.

“Yes, coaches take responsibility when things go awry, yet we can testify to the professionalism and discipline you brought to bear in the running of the club including your untiring belief in the God factor in the life of this great organisation. We will miss you,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, a club statement announced that the Promise Keepers have “suspended one player indefinitely” believed to be Effiong and added that two other players are currently being investigated on grounds of indiscipline.

The club are yet to announce a replacement head coach and it is not clear whether assistant coach Duke Udi would remain with the team.