Akwa United football club of Uyo played their first game under new coach Kennedy Boboye when they took on Rivers United at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in a Matchday nine fixture of the Nigeria professional football league .
Following the resignation of coach John Obuh from the hot seat at the Nest of Champions, Nigeria U23 assistant coach, Kennedy Boboye was appointed a day later. Poor results and improper conducts of some senior players was the cause of Obuh’s resignation according to the letter he issued on Sunday.
Boboye was tasked with the responsibility of rebuilding and bringing back the past glory for the former Aiteo Cup champions, but how did the team fare in his first outing.
Coming into the side as a new coach, the need to bring in the backroom staffs to help make selection for his first game was a necessity.
Coaches in the past have relied more on Mfon Udoh and Etboy Akpan.
Boboye had other plans as key performers at the club watched on from the Bench.
Last season’s NPFL joint-top scorer Mfon Udoh was one of the culprits of this supposed change of tactics.
Udoh, captain of the side was relegated to the bench, alongside Etboy Akpan who pulled a man of the match performance in his last game at the Nest of Champions, running down the flanks, keeping his opponents on the heels. Although Mfon Udoh was later brought in minutes to the end of the game.
New signing, goalkeeper Itodo Akor who pulled a superb save in his last game at home was also dropped.
Former Akwa United striker who returned to the club for a second spell, Akarandot Orok was brought into the starting lineup, Jean Efala and Etim Matthew were also brought in for Itodo Akor and Etboy Akpan respectively.
Akarandot Orok gave his side an early lead in the first 45 minutes, but the deficit was reduced in the second half.
Akwa United were unable to replicate the same performance they pulled in their last home game in which they defeated Adamawa United 4-0 on Matchday seven.
Etboy’s absence was unarguably exposed as his replacement lacked the pace the young winger would have offered on the flanks, having been an attacker in his early days of his football career.
Akwa United needed a 97th minute goal from defender, Sampson Gbadebo to take home the three points.
A game against Dakkada Int’l on Matchday ten will be Boboye’s greatest task just few days after joining the club.
The squad needs to be revamped to bring the spark needed at the Nest of Champions as the fans are always in need of better results and take pride in watching their teams play a possessive style of football.