Despite the delay in the commencement of 2018/2019 NPFL/Aiteo Cup Season and the funding limitations by the League Management Company, Akwa United FC of Uyo has been relentless in exhibiting sterling qualities in organizing its amazing brands that thrill football lovers. Thanks to the Club Chairman, Paul Bassey and his benefactor, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Last Friday at the Nest of Champions, Uyo the former Aiteo Cup winners unveiled 12 new players, inspirational club anthem and 2 new assistant coaches. Aside from standard protocol that reminds fans of European football scenery, the spectators ‘chanted’ the new club anthem joyfully and were entertained with highlights of top 10 goals from the club on the stadium big screen.
Upon his entrance at the event, the former FIFA media boss, Paul ‘Sports’ Bassey came up with another new season guarantee. “You will love what you will see.”
“It’s an abridged league, it’s going to be a difficult league and we want to start well. If we start well we going to maintain the momentum we had last season. In other to start well, we have gone ahead to add what we consider to be some very good players that will help us to realize our dreams.”
Guess who’s new?
On 4th of January 1989, Alberico Barbosa Da Silva was a new born baby in Sao Paluo, Brazil. On same date in 2019 he was unveiled as a midfielder on one year contract at Akwa United to fulfil a dream. The former Brazilian U-17 and Ifeanyi Ubah FC player was made public alongside Adou Blaise of Abijan, Ivory Coast as centerback and Jean Efala of Cameroon. Efala, has played for Coton Sport and Cameroon national team. He will man the post for Akwa United as his first Nigerian club.
Also revealed as new Akwa United players were Samuel Akpan, Wisdom Fernando, Wilson Elu, and Ocheme Edoh. Others are Ndifreke Effiong, Atuloma Emeka, Juwon Oshaniwa, Markson Ojobo and Mfon Udoh.
Seasons of new targets
While the general new target from the boss, management and players was winning NPFL League, Mfon Udoh set a personal target towards scoring 20 goals for the home club. The NPFL record goal scorer was delightful at his long awaited homecoming.
“I have always wanted to come back to Akwa United, but due to some circumstances that did not happen. Am so glad to be back to serve my hometown team once again. I feel so excited and happy… I needed to move to a club where I could face a new challenge, and Akwa United was one of those teams that provided that option for me.”
Efficiently new strategic discipline
“Today you can wear Akwa United jersey with pride!” a fan gave these words of honour to Paul Bassey.
For the past three seasons Akwa United were likely to win FA cup twice and the league once. The effort of the FIFA and CAF bureaucrat has paid well at earning the Uyo team continental presence, top flight position on the log and growing fans base as well as brand endorsement. The trick has been new style of attaining discipline among players and team officials.
“We have our code of conduct and give each player time to read it… Some years ago when we came to Akwa united we had a lots of Akwa Ibomites in the team, they were too many and we decided to drop a lot of them. We received a lot of criticism but we stood our grounds. We know those players were not good enough for Akwa United. Today you see the return of Akwa Ibom indigenes not because there are from Akwa Ibom, but because they are some of the best players that this country can offer.”
To manage this success Elder Paul Bassey told The New Diplomat the new efficient tactics. “Every time a quality player is invited to national team, the club suffers, but if a player is invited we can’t stop him, we don’t wish a player bad. This week Aniekeme will leave for U-20 event, you won’t want him to leave but what can you do? When they are invited it is for their own good. So we make sure there is quality on the bench so that when 2 or 3 players are invited the bench can always fill in. While you have good players, the possibility of being invited is very very high!”