Abdu Maikaba has heaped plaudits on his players’ performance in this season’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after they defeated Lobi Stars 2-1 at the Uyo Township Stadium on Friday.
The Promise Keepers had started the campaign on a nervy note and went on a run of five league matches on the spin without a win – three draws against Enugu Rangers, Katsina United and Rivers United plus losses at ABS FC on the opening day and at Wikki Tourists.
However Maikaba explained that he remained confident that he could turn things around at the club having just joined after quitting his head coach role at Wikki at the start of this season.
“It was not the kind of start that we hoped for this season. Our first five matches didn’t go well and we could not just win a game, but still I knew we would turn the corner at the right time because we needed time to work as a team.
“After that slow start to the season, we did not give up but kept working until we got to this stage. We are in the top-three now and I am proud of what we achieved so far but the season has not ended yet, so we must remain very focused because we have two very difficult games (against 3SC and Kano Pillars),” Maikaba told thepredictorng.com.
Akwa United later put up an impressive run including a five-game run without defeat, scoring 10 goals and winning at four-time champions Kano Pillars, and Maikaba believes that was the turning point in their season.
“That run did help and boost the confidence of the whole team,” he explained. “This is a difficult league, and when you win away from home, the momentum swings somehow in your favour and we built on that when we defeated Kano Pillars who are a very, very good team with good players like us.”
Akwa United currently occupy third place with 57 points, five behind NPFL leaders Plateau United, but Maikaba is still aiming to finish as “high as possible this season.”
“There are two games for us to play, and I still hope we can still finish as high as possible this season,” he said to thepredictorng.com.
Akwa United will make the trip to the city of Ibadan where they will go up against relegation-threatened 3SC in their penultimate game of the season.