Despite suffering a second consecutive loss in the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Championship Playoffs, a defiant Uche Okagbue, head coach of FC Ifeanyiubah has refused to give up hope of winning the title.
The Anambra Warriors lost 2-1 to Akwa United on Thursday at the Agege Township Stadium despite taking the lead through Emmanuel Ugwuka in the 33rd minute. Akwa turned things around in the second half with Cyril Olisema notching a brace for the Promise Keepers.
FC Ifeanyiubah confounded expectations to qualify for the post-season playoffs from Group B ahead of more fancied sides but they lost their opening fixture at the Super Six 3-1 to Lobi Stars and Okagbue put the latest defeat to Akwa United down to the inexperience of his side which he had to build virtually from scratch before the start of the season.
”It’s inexperience,” Okagbue said about his side’s defeat. “You can see it from the way they’re playing because if you watch, the whole players of Ifeanyiubah left the team so we picked these players from nowhere, from the amateur league and we started grooming them to this stage.
“And when we started the league, nobody gave this team a chance that we’ll get to the Super Six but we got there and everyone who has come to watch this team will see that we got to the Super Six on merit but unfortunately our boys were not experienced enough to carry on.”
He, however, expressed satisfaction with his players’ effort although he refused to concede that they lost to a better side, only saying that Akwa United were “lucky” to have gotten the win.
“It was a nice match the two teams played I think I’m satisfied with the play of my boys even though we lost, they gave a good account of themselves.
“I won’t say I lost to a better side; I can’t say that. They were just lucky that’s what I would say because if you watched the match from the first half, we threw away almost five glaring chances [to score].”
Two defeats on the bounce notwithstanding, Okagbue insists that his side still have a lot to play for in the Super Six with not just the title but continental places on offer.
“Two defeats don’t mean anything; we’ll still fight on. My team is a determined team and I’m a determined human being, I’ll fight till the end,” he declared.