Leading the Nigeria Professional Football League standings with five massive points after 32 rounds of matches, two-time Federation Cup Champions Akwa United Football Club are in Port Harcourt this weekend and will be seeking to extend their lead at the summit of the log when they confront third-placed Rivers United at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium on Sunday.
The Promise Keepers are chasing what would be their first-ever league title and they will have to replicate the type of form which saw them record three wins, nine draws with just four loses in their previous 16 away games this campaign, picking up 18 points on the road.
The league leaders are the in-form team and they appear unstoppable heading into this weekend’s game against Rivers United.
They will need to be on top of their game as they go head-to-head with the Pride of Rivers who have been immovable at home, having recorded 14 wins and two draws in Port Harcourt, scoring 27 goals and conceded just four in 16 home games.
With six matches left to play before the close of the season, the Promise Keepers are inspired by their 16 victories, 12 draws with just four defeats in 32 games and coach Kennedy Boboye wants his players to approach the game with the same fighting spirit which gave them good results in previous games.
“We are on course to achieve the target we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season. We have a big task at hand and we must understand that at this stage of the season, every match is crucial and every point is important. We have been working on our finishing because we cannot afford to be wasteful, we must make sure we utilize all our chances.
“The match against Rivers United will be a tough one and I want us to go there and fight for the maximum points. I’m very positive that we will get a good result on Sunday but we need to be committed one hundred percent throughout the match.
“The match against Rivers United is probably the biggest game in the league this weekend and we cannot afford to let ourselves down. People are talking about us topping the table but we know that for us to maintain our lead, we have to win games like this, so we will go out there and give our all while hoping for a positive result” says Boboye who has won the league both as a player (for Dolphins, now Rivers United) and as a coach with Plateau United.
The Promise Keepers recorded a resounding 3-0 victory over Rivers United in the reverse fixture in Uyo with Mfon Udoh, Charles Atshimene and Morice Chukwu (now with Rivers United) all scoring on that occasion.
Both teams have met 15 times at the top level, with the Pride of Rivers having a narrow lead with seven wins, Akwa United six victories while two of those games ended in draws.
In their previous 16 away games, Akwa United have scored 12 and conceded the same number of goals. Coach Boboye has selected his best legs for the crucial game and victory on Sunday will move the Promise Keepers closer to their first-ever league title in the 24 year history of the club.