Two weeks after winning their first league match at the Agege Stadium in five attempts, two-time Federation Cup Champions Akwa United will be back in Lagos, poised for another victory on Match-day 19 against Sunshine Stars of Akure on Saturday.
The Promise Keepers, unbeaten in seven matches (five wins and two draws), are third on the NPFL log with 32 points from 17 games — one point behind joint leaders Kwara United and Kano Pillars.
Coach Kennedy Boboye’s team will be aiming for their fourth straight win on Saturday when the engage 17th-placed Sunshine Stars, who are without a win in eleven matches.
The fixture will be Sunshine Stars’ second home match to be played at the Agege Stadium following their banishment from Akure Township Stadium after they were found guilty of breaching LMC’s Framework.
The game, which was originally fixed for Sunday 4th April, was brought forward to Saturday 3rd April, by the league organisers, League Management Company LMC, in order to accommodate MFM versus FC Ifeanyi Ubah tie, which is billed for Sunday.
Coach Boboye in a pre-match interview with the club’s official website www.akwaunitedfc.com revealed that his team will not be complacent but will approach the game with a positive mindset.
“We will be playing at Agege Stadium for the second time in two weeks and I know my players will go into the match with the same spirit and energy they put in during our win against MFM.
“We know the match will be tough and we are ready for any challenge because at this stage of the season, every point is important and we are going to fight for maximum points on Saturday knowing very well that victory can take us to the top of the log.
“I have informed my players that we should not be carried away by what we have achieved so far because we are not yet at where we will love to be. So we will continue to push forward and take it one game at a time because we still have lots of matches to play before the end of the season.
“I’m impressed with the level of determination and courage my players have exhibited both in trainings and in matches. It simply means that they are committed and willing to give their best in every match,” Boboye said.
With 22 goals scored and ten conceded in 17 matches, Akwa United have one of the sharpest front-lines and also boast of the most resolute back-lines in the league.
NPFL joint-leading scorer Ndifreke Effiong has scored eight of Akwa United’s 22 goals, while his strike partners Mfon Udoh (six goals) Charles Atshimene (three goals) and Ikechukwu Nwani (two goals), are also in fine form. Mfon Udoh and Ikechukwu Nwani have scored five goals between themselves in their last two games, including two in the win at MFM two weeks ago.
Goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka, who is steadily emerging as the best goalkeeper in the league following his sterling performances which have seen him keep eight clean sheets in twelve matches (he has achieved that in fewer games than any other goalkeeper in the league), is sure to retain his place in goal at Agege Stadium on Saturday.
Saturday’s game will be the nineteenth time that the two teams will be facing each other in the top flight. Sunshine. Stars and Akwa United are on level terms in the head-to-head record in their previous eighteen meetings, with seven victories apiece and four draws.
This fixture will see the two leading goal scorers in the division — Akwa United’s Ndifreke Effiong and Sadeeq Yusuf of Sunshine Stars, who have eight goals apiece — battling it out, as the race for the NPFL Golden Boot hots up.