Matchday 16 of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will witness several high profile matches today, but one of the most anticipated is the match between Group A table-toppers Enugu Rangers FC and third place Mountain of Fire And Miracles Ministries FC (MFM FC).
MFM FC defender, Joshua Akpudje has admitted the caliber of a team the Enugu club is but also says they expect a positive result when both teams clash later today at the Cathedral, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, despite Rangers being on an eleven match unbeaten run.
“it’s not a threat to us, it’s not a scare, it’s a motivation for us to showcase what we have in us because I believe in my team, we are good to go, and I believe in the coaches, we can only come together when we are in love and we can win this game tomorrow (today). And I know it’s gonna be a tough game for us, but like I said, we can only give our best and leave the rest for God…,” the youngster said in an exclusive chat with busybuddiesng.com
“And I can never say it is going to be an easy game, but Enugu Rangers is a tough team in [the] Nigeria Premier League… but we are gonna give our best tomorrow (today),” he added.
MFM have been in their best form in the Aiteo Cup being the defending champions in Lagos State and as the season nears its end, Akpudje has disclosed MFM’s plan for the league playoffs, continental aspirations, and the Aiteo Cup.
“At the beginning of the season, our goal was to win the league and to qualify for the continent, but you know in football anything can happen so I can say we’d [still] win the league, but I know I’m gonna give my best and my team are gonna give our best to qualify for the continent and to give our extraordinary best again to try to win the league,” Akpudje continued.
“But the only thing is, you can’t chase two things together, you have to chase one… but I know me and my team we are dreaming to win them both and I know God will help us out.”
While the teenager would not be the only player for the Olukoya Boys on the pitch, he really looks forward to playing a top side like Enugu Rangers saying that it will boost his confidence as a young player. And for the future, Akpudje hopes for an opportunity to move to Europe and also a call up to the National Team.
“It’s gonna be a good game because Enugu Rangers is a good side to play against and for me a young talent coming up, it’s a big platform to show what I have in me. Like my last game against Lobi Stars I played at home, it was 90 minutes, it’s a big platform for me, and to play against Rangers in Enugu here is, I think I have to give my best and make sure my team wins, and I know at the end of the game we’re going to come out in flying colours.
“The league is remaining six games to go, now it’s just to keep working out, to look up to the national team call up again, because we have a game coming up on June 5, and looking out for a better team in Europe because the window will be out from next month.
Playing against top teams at a young age in any league around the world is more than a thing of joy for a developing youngster looking to build a name for himself and for Akpudje, he relishes these moments because he sees them as an opportunity to showcase his talent.
An example is a game against Lobi Stars, which seemed like a revenge mission for the youngest defender in the NPFL. He had missed the first leg due to national assignment and his team had lost away at Lobi.
“Playing against Lobi Stars was a good game for me, because it was a game I was looking forward to because my team lost to them in Lobi, I was in the National Team camp then so I had to stay in the camp for the game against Libya. So getting back, I played against Lobi and it was a tough game because I’ve been looking up to Lobi Stars and there are some strikers there that I have been looking up on the continent, like their striker Stephen and so many guys like that.
“It was a pleasure playing against them and making them understand that, yeah, there’s someone here also called Joshua Akpudje that can stop them, so I told myself that I’m going to stop them and their not going to score any goal into my goal net and I’m not going to concede any goal. And I give God the glory that [he] helped me out, and I want to do the same thing here tomorrow (today) to Rangers to show them who I am and what I’m made for and to give the rest to God,” Akpudje concluded.
Akpudje and his teammates will face the daunting task of getting 3 points in the Coal City against the table toppers who are 4 points ahead MFM and Enyimba, with the game scheduled for kickoff at 4 pm Nigerian time.