As the 2023-24 Nigeria Premier Football League season enters matchday 17 in what will be the first league match in 2024, Akwa United Football Club will be aiming to turn their fortune around when they square up against neighbours Abia Warriors at the Eket Stadium on Sunday.
With just three victories in the opening sixteen matches, the Promise Keepers occupy 18th position on the log and they will be hoping for the best possible start to the new year knowing that a win over Abia Warriors will move them out of the drop zone.
Despite their slow start to the season, Akwa United will be motivated to make an impact in a game they consider as winnable. The 2021 champions are undefeated at home this season having recorded three wins and five draws, scoring six goals while conceding three.
Caretaker coach Umar Abdullahi has tasked his players to be more committed and determined in their approach to games in a bid to ensure the team get positive results that will help achieve their target at the end of the season.
Akwa United’s eleven goals this season have been scored by seven players; Seyi Oguntayo -3, Kufre Ebong -2, Uche Collins -2, David Philip -1, Dare Ojo -1, Hadi Mohammed -1 and Rilwan Sadiq -1 and coach Umar believes that he has a team in which goals can come from all the departments.
“Every matchday provides us with an opportunity to improve our standing in the league table. We are not comfortable with our current position and we know that it’s up to us as coaches and the players to get the job done in the best possible way.
“Goal scoring was our major challenge but we believe that we have sorted that out in our training sessions. Again, we have made it clear to our players that we can’t afford to waste the scoring chances that will come our way. That means we have to be more prolific in front of goal because the responsibility of scoring goals is for all the eleven players on the pitch, so we are looking at the whole team playing well and scoring goals in games.
“We know that our opponent will be coming with a game plan but we are ready to go all out for maximum points”.
In 17 previous meetings between Akwa United and Abia Warriors, the hosts have enjoyed three victories to their visitors four wins while ten of those ties ended in draws. Abia Warriors are currently placed 8th on the log with 23 points from 16 games and they are eight points above the Uyo based club.
Abia Warriors are not good travelers and have suffered seven losses in eight away games so far this season with their only point on the road coming in a 2-2 draw against Bayelsa United in Yenagoa.
The match will Kickoff at four O’clock in the afternoon and there will be live updates of the game on all Akwa United social media platforms from three O’clock in the afternoon.