Akanimo Kufre (Uyo)
AITEO Cup winners, Akwa United, Saturday unveiled 16 new youthful players to take NPFL by surprise this football season. The club had initially planned for about 8 new players but later decided to add more to their ranks as replacement for the injured players and those who have left for Europe in search of greener pastures.
The brilliant performance of the Uyo club last season endeared European based player, Etboy Akpan to it. Akpan who was a regular feature in the National U-15 and U-17 team played for PrvaLiga side NK Rudar of Slovenia. The midfielder who dazzle big defenders has Willian da Silva as his role model. Other new players include Ubong Essien DM, Welcome Time Soccer Academy, Kan; Emmanuel Charles, DM, Akwa Starlets; Daniel Ekpo, W, Rivers United; Kenneth James, S, El-Kanemi Worriors; Aminu Nuhu, AM, Adamawa United; Katoh Haggai, AM,GBS Academy Jos; Gabriel Wassa, LFB, Rivers United.
Also, among the quick and skilful new players to prosecute Akwa United games this season are Yenne Tenton, W. GBS Academy Jos; Kelly Kester, DM. Enyimba Intl.; Victor Mbaoma, S. Remo Stars, Ajibola Otegbeye, S. Sunshine Stars; Adeshina Gata, W. ABS Ilorin; Denis Nya, CD. Lobi Stars; Etim Mathew, RFB. Rangers Intl, and Anikeme Asuquo, AM. Akwa Starlet.
Aniekeme Asuquo also known as Perrere is an exceptional attacking midfielder with engery to play from box to box. The No. 33 shirt did prove Coach Miakaba selection right during a friendly match immediately after the unveiling of the new signed players at the training pitch of Nest of Champions.
According to the silent tactician, and National U-20 Coach, Abdul Maikaba, the boys proved beyond doubt their capability to meet up with the task before Akwa United during pre-season challenges in Kano. ‘I remember last season I promised a continental position and we have it, the aspiration this time around will be what Akwa United will look like in the next 5 years. That is why you can see a lot of young players in the team. In the pre-season we had in Kano, some of them have already proved beyond reasonable doubt that they can be part of the team at any point in time. ’
The Special Adviser to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Sports and Chairman, Akwa United, Mr Paul Bassey thanked the players, administrators, media, supporters and the State government, for their contributions. The FIFA, CAF and FA official assured Akwa United fans and the state that the new set of players are youthful and experienced who will take the league by storm. ‘…By virtue of their age, by virtue of their God’s given ability, I can assure you that these ones that you have not heard about from their academy, our feeders team, are names that you will remember in five years time to the glory of God and Akwa United.’
The highly excited Chairman recalled the high points of last season where Akwa never lost any home match and for the first time in 20 years, the club fans were not happy about finishing 4th position. According to the fans, the performance of the club was good enough to win the league.
“I remember watching on TV when Plateau United was given the league Cup and 5 million naira I felt very bad. I said that should have been Akwa United. Little did I know that we serve a living God, His word is yea and Amen; little did I know if God say it will happen, it happens. It may tarry but one day it may come to pass. If you are one of those who envied Plateau United 5million in the AITEO Cup we won 25million naira and we won in the glare of publicity, we won best coach, best goal keeper, highest scorer, the only thing we did not win was best chairman (in the league).” Paul Bassey said while celebrating the team’s achievements.
Akwa United first match for the 2017/2018 NPFL is on 14th of January against visiting Rangers of Enugu and Paul Bassey declared it a must win. The club is determined to make 9 points from the first 3 matches.