Akwa United suffered their first and only defeat in the Nigeria Professional Football League Super-Six Championship play-offs on Wednesday night, losing 3-0 to eventual league champions Enyimba of Aba in their last match of the championship at the Agege stadium in Lagos.
A first half goal from Reuben Bala and two more in the second half from Stanley Dimgba and Bashir Abdulrahaman condemned the Promise Keepers to their only defeat at the championship following a run of one win and three draws in their previous four matches.
Akwa United went into their last game against Enyimba, needing a win to secure a Champions League ticket, while the people’s Elephant needed a win to win their 8th NPFL title. And it was the Aba based side that got the job done in emphatic fashion.
The two-time Federation Cup Champions qualified for the championship play-offs after finishing top of Group B in the NPFL regular season and were favourites to lift the trophy for the first time and secure one of the three continental tickets.
But with 6 points from 5 matches, Akwa United finished behind champions Enyimba with 12 points, Kano Pillars with 11points and Enugu Rangers with 8 points.
The two top teams, Champions Enyimba and Kano Pillars will represent Nigeria in the CAF Champions League while third placed Enugu Rangers and the winner of the Aiteo (FA) Cup will represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup next football season.
Akwa United only chance of playing continental football next season will be to capture the 2019 Aiteo (FA) Cup for the third time in five years. The 2015 and 2017 champions will face Sokoto United in the Round of 62 at the FIFA Goal Project on Saturday afternoon in Abuja.