Two-Time Federation Cup Champions Akwa United rounded off their first stanza of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League in a grand style after a slow and disastrous start to the season.
The Promise Keepers got off to a worse possible start to the campaign when they garnered just two points from four games. But they bounced back nicely and gone seven matches without defeat to end the first half of the season in second place on the Group B log.
A run of five wins and two draws in their last seven matches saw Coach Rafael Everton’s team amass 17 points from a possible 21 with a healthy goal difference of seven (+7)
The Promise Keepers kicked start their season with the signing of Brazilian Coach Rafael Everton (the third foreigner to handle Akwa United in the 22-year old history of the club, after Cameroonian Emmanuel Deutsch and Belgian Maurice Cooreman). The team also registered 12 new players including one of her former strikers and NPFL all time leading scorer Mfon Udoh, 2013 Super Eagles AFCON winner Juwon Oshaniwa, one of NPFL most decorated players, Markson Ojobo and 2016 Federation Cup winner Brazilian playmaker Alberico Da Silva.
The team surprisingly lost their first home game of the season, losing 0-1 to El Kanemi Warriors, they pick themselves up and pulled a 1-1 draw against Kano Pillars in Kano on matchday two.
The team were however, pegged back when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Plateau United and later lost 2-0 to Nasarawa United in Lafia leaving them with just two points from four games.
The Promise Keepers hit the ground running on matchday five with a resounding 3-0 victory over Go Round FC at the Nest of Champions with goals from Christopher Lolo, Ndifreke Effiong and Ubong Friday. They followed it up with a morale boosting 1-0 away win over Yobe Desert Stars in Damaturu. Mfon Udoh scored the decisive goal in the first half. Their impressive run continued on matchday seven with a 4-0 bashing of newly promoted Kada City in Uyo. Ndifreke Effiong scored a brace while Mfon Udoh and Wisdom Fernando both had a goal apiece. On Matchday eight at the Umuahia Township stadium, Mfon Udoh scored a first half equalizer as the played out a thrilling 1-1 against Abia warriors.
Top striker Mfon Udoh Once again made the difference on Matchday nine, with a first half goal to help his side to a narrow victory over FC Ifeanyi Ubah in Uyo. The Promise Keepers were then forced to a 2-2 draw by Gombe United at the Pantami Stadium with goals from Emmanuel Charles and Mfon Udoh on that occasion. Coach Everton’s team then rounded off the first stanza of the 2018/2019 NPFL season with a hard fought 1-2 victory over Heartland FC of Owerri in Okigwe Township stadium, a match in which top scorer Mfon Udoh took his tally to 8 goals in 11 matches while strike partner Ndifreke Effiong scored his 5th goal of the season. The team ended the first round of the season scoring 17 goals and conceded 10 in eleven matches. Mfon Udoh (8) Ndifreke Effiong (5) Christopher Lolo, Wisdom Fernando, Ubong Friday and Emmanuel Charles scored one goal each.
The club’s impressive performances in the first half of the season saw top scorer Mfon Udoh named NPFL League Bloggers Player of the Month in the month of February. The second half of the season will commence in the weekend of March 24th with a reverse fixtures of matchday 11, and Akwa United will square up against Heartland FC on Sunday 24th March at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo.