Akwa United Falter In Umuahia As Dakkada Continue To Slump In The NPFL

By Etop Umoidem


The 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has witnessed a massive improvement in the area of quality of play standard of officiating.

The hitherto winning at home syndrome has now become a thing of the past as teams have won matches away from home without being intimidated by the home fans or abandoned by the host security operatives.

On the strength of this improvement, hope was raised when Akwa United FC of Uyo visited Umuahia Township Stadium for a dtate with Abia Warriors on match day 22 of the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League. Abia Warriors made a strong statement of intent when they took the lead after 19 minutes when Akwa United’s keeper, Jean Efala, fouled Okon Otop in the box for a penalty. The resultant spot kick was saved by Efala but Shadrach Asiegbusi who took the slot kick reacted quickly enough to shot in the rebounds.

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The goal by Abia Warriors sparked the promise keepers into action as Ubong Friday and David Philip combined neatly to release Dara go whose long range effort agonizingly went wide to end proceedings in the first half.

Both teams resumed play in the second half with great intensity and determination to wrap up things but it was Akwa United who made their efforts count as they equalized in the 63rd minute through Sampson Gbadebbo, after a superb delivery from Maurice Chukwu’s free-kick. After then, Akwa United made several spirited attempts to wrap up the game in style but were undone in front of goal as the team’s leading goal scorer, Ndifreke Effiong, failed to finish the home side by firing Salisu Saidu’s through ball straight at the host goal keeper, Godsgift El-kanah.

However, luck ran out of Akwa United in the 80th minutes when Ugwuka Emmanuel bundled home the ball to give Abia Warriors unassailable victory. Despite the defeat, Akwa United still occupy 4th position on the log with 33 points from 23 games.

In the same vein, Akwa United’s next door neighbours, Dakkada International FC, in far away Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano State, predictably failed 0-2 to Kano pillars who were inspired by their veteran captain, Rabiu Ali. The match which was watched by a large number of spectators with the host dominating affairs from the blast of the whistle, showed strong determination to win the reversed fixture to complete a double over their visitors in the current season.

Kano Pillars were rewarded for their efforts with an early goal in the 4th minute when Nwagua Nyima beat Dakkada’s defence line to deliver a cross for Auwalu Malam to nod home from close range. The goal dramatically unsettled Dakkada FC who have gone six matches without winning. Dakkada’s woe was compounded in the 32nd minute when Usman Babalofo doubled the lead for the home side.

Kano Pillars bossed the game all through the encounter but failed to score more goals due to poor marksmanship in front of goal. At the post-match briefing, Kano Pillars’ coach, Ibrahim Musa, praised his boys for their ability to retain the three maximum points and their determination to win the game at the end of the day. Albeit, he lamented his team’s inability to convert all the chances that came their way in the course of the match. In his opinion, “the technical crew will go back to the drawing board to work out better strategies to win our next match away against Lobi Stars in Makurdi,” Musa said.

On his part, Coach Caleb Esu of Dakkada admitted that the game was won fairly by Kano Pillars. Coach Esu maintained that his team will do everything possible to avoid a repeat of what happened in Kano where his boys, according to him, “lost coordination in the first half and lost good scoring opportunities.”

Kano Pillars’ goal keeper, Joshua Enahola, was voted man of the match after the game for his outstanding performance.

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