- Akwa United Victory Was Magical Like Alex Iwobi’s Goal, Says Hon Charles Udoh
For most football enthusiasts in Akwa Ibom, last weekend brought double celebrations at the Nest of Champions. First was the high spirit as Nigerian Super Eagles beat Chipolopolo of Zambia to qualify for Russia 2018 and barely 24 hours after, Akwa United made history by beating Sunshine Stars 3-1 to qualify for first AITEO Cup finals (FA Cup). Though both matches were tension soaked, the home fans at the expiration of 90 minutes were not disappointed by the name of their stadium, the Nest of Champions.
Indeed Godswill Akpabio International stadium has proved Akwa Ibom state as foremost sports destination in the country and perhaps the continent. While the stadium became favourite spot for the Super Eagles, the coach of Akwa United, Abdu Maikaba left a higher placed Wikki Tourist on the league table to lowly positioned Akwa United for just two reasons. They are his ambition and the quality sporting facility in Akwa Ibom that can help him produce champions. Indeed he has!
However, when the Promise Keepers narrowly lost their 3rd place position to Enyimba of Aba in the Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL, an uphill task was placed on the management of Akwa United as well as the Sports commissioner by the sport loving Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Last Sunday, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi late theatrical goal proved champions are still made in Uyo, plus numerous team mates that made the nation’s highest number of players’ representation at CHAN. As a matter of fact, Akwa United impressive home run made Niger Tornadoes coach pray to meet Duke Udi’s boys at the AITEO Cup finals instead of intimidating Akwa United.
With 2-0 lead in the last Sunday game Hon. Monday Uko was excited to watch his boys play Sunshine stars. But when Franklin Sasere scored the unpleasant 85 minute goal for the visitor, the revolutionary sports commissioner was forced to move towards the Akwa united bench just as miraculously Ifeanyi fired in the 87 minute winner for the home fans euphoric celebration.
In successive excited reactions, Hon. Monday Uko a.k.a Monty expressed his relieve. “This victory is not only for Akwa Ibom state but for the whole country, we are going into the finals to win and represent this country at the continental, we are so happy and we thank Gov. Udom Emmanuel for all that he has done for sports development in the state.
My governor told me in the Executive council when Akwa United was down and said ‘employees don’t resign their job, they resign their employer. Monty go out and make sure Akwa United be where it is suppose to be.’ And it is not of my making, I am very sure and everybody knows that it is God’s doing. Only God has the power to do what has happed today. We thank the governor because he worships God, he knows his onions and what he is doing. He has spent so much in sports and he is still doing more. In the next two years Akwa Ibom will be everywhere in sports. We would love all Akwa Ibom fans to come and support the team in Lagos finals. I also ask Akwa Ibomites to pray for our victory, the winning is nit for Gov Udom Emmanuel, it is not for the commissioner for sports it is for Akwa Ibom state, please stand up and pray for this team it is for our pride, Dakada and pray. Akwa United is our darling team.”
With similar excitement the state information boss, Hon Charles Udoh could not hold back his exhilaration. ‘This is going to be the second time in the history of Akwa United of Akwa Ibom state to make the FA Cup finals. Remember in 2015 we made it to the finals and we won and we are going to win again. Definitely there is a future for Akwa United in the CAF competition, today by all standard Akwa united is the best team in Nigerian professional league, remember in the last CHAN for local players Akwa had five players for Nigeria that shows the calibre of players we have So we are ready to take on the continent. The 87 minute goal for Akwa was magical just like Alex Iwobi’s goal for Nigeria. Akwa presence at the CAF confederation cup will bring foreigners to the good things happening in Akwa Ibom state, the rest of Africa loves to come here. There will be revenue, tourism to boost the economy of the state.’
Soft talking Akwa united Coach, Mikaba explain with smiles his delight and dreams for the Lagos finals with Niger Tornadoes. ‘Now we are in the finals it is a 90 minutes game and against a good team that beat the league champions, beat defending champions I believe we have to make . Actually we were worried when we lost the confederation ticket through league but we told ourselves that we have another opportunity through this competition. In the round of 64 you have to win five games straight to win the trophy, now we like scale four remaining one. We will try our best to make use of the 90 minute to end up in history as the first winners of AITEO CUP. I would love to win a trophy in my first year as a coach for the team.’