Akwa United: Opening day defeat will make us stronger



Paul Bassey, Chairman, Akwa United Football Club of Uyo, says the loss in their opening day fixture of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League season will make them stronger.

Newly promoted Bendel Insurance FC of Benin defeated Akwa United FC 2-0 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.

Bassey however told the News Agency of Nigeria that the team was poised to still win the league in spite the early set back.

He said that the NPFL was a big and tough league, adding that irrespective of the result, the coach would work on the weaknesses of the team and strengthen the boys mentally.

He said: “We were more tactical and experienced than our opponents, but failed to take our chances in spite the sustained pressure, especially in the second half, and that was our greatest undoing.

“Notwithstanding, we are still on course to win the league this season.

“We’ve done it before and also know why we did not win it last season.

“We had been playing a lot of preseason matches since September 2022 with most of the premier league top guns, including Enyimba, Rangers and Rivers United FC, among others.

“We also have a good surface and when we play at home, we stretch teams, which make them unable to cope with our style of play.”

Akwa United finished ninth on the NPFL 20 -team table with 52 points at the end of the 2021/2022 season.

The Chairman said that the greatest incentive for the players was winning the league and the exposure they got playing in the continent thereafter.

Bassey added: “I keep on telling them that they are not playing for Akwa United or for me, but for themselves.

“So, they have to go out there and prove themselves and use Akwa United as a pedestal to go forward in their footballing career.

“I have never tied down any player.

“At the end of the league season Akwa United wins and they are noticed.

“They go to play continental football.

“Every time we’ve gone into the continent, we have lost two, three or more players, especially to the North Africans.

“That is the biggest incentive.

“So, it’s not all about money, but the exposure of the players themselves.”

NAN also reports that the 2022/2023 NPFL season, which kicked off on Sunday, is expected to run in an abridged format.



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