Akwa United will be aiming to close the gap on league leaders to within two points when they entertain Yobe Dersert Stars in Damaturu on Matchday 23 of the Nigeria Professional Football League.
The match will be the second ever meeting between the two sides in the NPFL and the Promise Keepers will go into the game with the hope of doing the double over the North Eastern team whom they beat 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Uyo early in the season.
It is a match which has significance at both ends of the table. Victory for Coach Abdu Maikaba’s team will be enough for them to cement their second place on the log while three points for the home side will ease their relegation worries going into the FIFA World Cup break.
United have picked six points away from home so far this season and are ten points above 16th placed Yobe Stars going into this weekend’s encounter. However, they will miss the services of some of their key players like Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Ifeanyi Ede, Barnabas Imenger Jr, Denis Nya, Godspower Igudia and Aniekeme Asuquo due to various degree of injuries and lack of match fitness.
Coach Maikaba has listed youngsters Etboy Akpan and three other players who are yet to feature for the club this season. They are striker Boniface Mathew, midfielder Emmanuel Charles and defender Ayobami Asekunowo in his 18 man squad for this weekend’s game in Damaturu.
Despite Yobe’s position on the log, Coach Maikaba is expecting to face a tough and determined side on Sunday afternoon.
“The match with Yobe Stars is not going to be easy in any way because they are fighting for survival, but this is a big game for us and we are more interested in getting the three available points.
“Our target is to win as many games as possible in order to actualise our aspirations at the end of the season. This is our last match before the FiFA World Cup break, so we want to enjoy the break knowing that we are in a comfortable position”.
United have 38 points from 23 matches