By Etop Umoidem
Football fans in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State were on Sunday, January 26, treated to a scintillating performance by Akwa United FC, Uyo, as it produced one of their best performances in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), demystifying high flying Heartlands of Owerri by three goals to one.
Both teams started the match with strong desire to win in order to improve on their positions on the log, but it was the visitors who drew the first blood in the 15th minute through Chukwuemeka Obioma with a simple tap in after Samuel Nnoshiri rounded up United’s defense with sublime dribbling skills.
However, Nigeria’s U-23 striker Ndifreke Effiong restored parity for the home side with a spectacular strike in the 19th minute to get his team back in the game. Thereafter, it was Akwa United all the way, imposing their authority and dictated the pace of the game through Marshal Johnson, Ifeanyi Eze, Ubong Friday and others putting Heartlands defense through the sword with incessant pressure and they weretherefore rewarded in the 38th minute when veteran Akarandut Orok headed home a lovely ball from Ndifreke Effiong to give Akwa United the lead for the first time in the match.
The first stanza ended on a high note for the Promise Keeper as they went into the break with a 2 – 1 lead, albeit, they lost Marshal Johnson to injury in the 23rd minute. On resumption of play in the 2nd half, Akwa United started by piling more pressure with a bit to garner the maximum three points to the bank when Ndifreke Effiong made it 3 – 1 for the home lads. Ndifreke Effiong, after skipping past his maker in the box to nod home a superb ball to beat the opponent’s goalie and Nigeria’s World cup goal keeper, Emeka Ezenwa, who was badly positioned on his goal line for his 2nd goal of the day.
It could be recalled that Akwa United have enjoyed a new lease of life under the tutelage of new Manager Kennedy Boboye who has guided the team to six unbeaten games before they were humiliated 0 – 2 at home by less fancied Kwara United and another 2 – 0 to Kano Pillars in Kano.
So far, Akwa United are still occupying 6th position on the table with 7 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats.
In the same vein, the State 2nd NPFL team, Dakkada FC, Uyo, Saturday, January 25 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium spanked visiting Jigawa Golden Stars by two goals to nil in Match day 17 of the Nigeria Professional Football League. Osimaga Duke and Spencer Bassey scored for Dakkada FC. Dakkada who have enjoyed a fairy tale campaign after joining the elite division of the Nigerian Football League have churned out amazing results even at the expense of Nigerian notable club sides.
Coach CalebEsu’s charges have 27 points to maintain some touching distance with league leaders Lobi Stars who have 31 points from 16 matches.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s 2nd representatives of this season’s CAF Confederation Cup competition, Rangers International of Enugu pulled one of the greatest football stunts in the competition by defeating Pyramids of Egypt in Cairo 0 – 1. However, Ifeanyi George’s goal in Cairo was not enough to rescue Enugu Rangers from elimination as they wanted results elsewhere to go in their favour as Rangers needed Nouadhibou ofMauritania to avoid a defeat against Al Masry of Egypt in a few hours later.
The other representatives in the competition, Eyimba International of Aba, stands a chance to proceed to the knockout stage of the Championship if they avoid a defeat in Ivory Coast against San Pedro who had earlier drew 0 – 0 with Paradou in Algeria. It would be recalled that Eyimba forced visiting Hassania Agadier 1 – 1 in Aba in their last weekend CAF Confederation Cup group match.