All cannot be said to be well in the camp of Nigeria Professional Football League side Akwa United as fans of the team have grown increasingly livid over the team’s unimpressive run of results, culminating in their 1-1 draw with Plateau United on Wednesday.
In the rescheduled Match Day 16 game decided at the Nest of Champions, the Promise Keepers surrendered a 1-0 lead to end the game 1-1 against the current league champions, in the absence of their head coach Abdu Maikaba who is away with Nigeria’s Under-20 side in Guinea Bissau.
The result marked only the second time United would drop points at home this season but coincidentally, both draws (the first against Abia Warriors) came when Maikaba was away with the national team, a trend the fans who spoke with www.aclsports.com were not happy with.
“We ought to win this game (against Plateau) but because of the sentiment of the coach. Our coach is not technically sound because our technical adviser went to international match,” began Ini Akpan, a 55-year old fan of the club to www.aclsports.com
“We lost the points because we don’t have (a) coach.”
“It’s not fair for the coach to go to an international game. It’s not fair. You have to choose whether to go for a national assignment or stay in your club.
“The man is cheating us and I don’t know what to say. The NFF should do it that once you sign agreement with the team, you won’t have a national assignment again,” added Akpan.
In his own submission, 48-year old Tony Ekwerre believes the players should be punished one way or the other for their poor performances. He particularly singled out some of the players for criticism, accusing them of being unserious on the field of play.
“They’ve not done well. To me, I feel they should be punished in one way or the other. They should be giving them either two or three matches ultimatum. If they don’t win the matches either home or away, they must seize their salaries or one thing or the other, to discipline them because it seems that they are not serious when they are on the pitch.
“So, I am angry. I am angry over it. Some players are not fit and that is the technical work, the players should have been removed in the game for a long time but they refused but they keep on walking on the field. So the management should do something to it otherwise there will be more problems,” added the civil servant.
On Maikaba’s position as the assistant coach of the Flying Eagles, Ekwerre has no problems with that.
“Having being called for national assignment, I believe his assistants should do something tangible to the team. I don’t have any problems with him (Maikaba) going to the national team because from the start, it is a promotion to Akwa United Football Club.”
Akwa United finished fourth at the end of last season before ending the season with the AITEO Cup triumph. What should they now do with the team to achieve the heights of last season?
“What they can do is to bring in strikers. We don’t have strikers in that team. We don’t have scorers in the team. They will only play fanciful football but finishing is the problem. I don’t welcome that. No matter how fanciful they play, we need finishing.
Also speaking, Nsangette Udo believes the team’s most explainable problem is wastefulness in front of goal.
“I don’t know what is wrong with the team. They could not convert their chances. Akwa United do not have a top striker. That’s the only thing I can think,” said Udo.
When pressed further on what Ifeanyi Ede, Victor Mbaoma and Gabriel Okechukwu are if he says the club does not have a striker, Udo replies:
“But they cannot convert their chances. You understand? A striker should be very sharp but they don’t perform their work as strikers. They miss a lot of scoring chances. So I don’t know what we’re going to do with the team,” a bemused Udo adds.
Asked what he would do to turn the fortunes of the team around, he expectedly highlights getting new strikers for the team.
“If they give me the power (to recruit for the team), I will make sure I bring in two strikers that can help Akwa out because their problem always seem to be the point where they can’t finish up.
“They will play good football in the midfield and we have some good defenders but when it comes to scoring, they seem to be wanting, they cannot score.”
Can Akwa still get as high as they got last season?
“For me in the league, they have to struggle very hard to get into the first three. They have to try but for the AITEO Cup, I don’t know.
“It is somehow because if you lose one game, you’re out so you have to keep winning all your games. So for now, I can’t say about the AITEO Cup, but in the league, they have to struggle to get to the top three.
On Maikaba’s absence in the dug out for their only two draws at home, Udo believes the management should ask him pertinent questions on the issue.
“There seems to be a divided attention now. That means he (Maikaba) doesn’t really know where to stick to. So, that means he is partly thinking about the national team and partly thinking about Akwa United,” he posited.
“That could contribute to the poor run of Akwa United, I think so. Because if he has 100% attention here, I want to believe that they will just sit down and look at the team and the substitutions they want to make and players to bring on board.
“I believe his own presence would have counted for the team because there are some players that would look at him and say I need to play well because this man is watching me. But now, he does not know what is happening, maybe until he watches this video. I think his presence would have counted much.
“The management of Akwa United may have to look at that issue critically. They have to ask him that Oga, where do you think your attention lies? Is it here for Akwa United or the national team. He needs to answer that question,” Udo submitted.
Akwa United will still be without their head coach Abdu Maikaba when they travel to Enugu on Sunday for their next league game against 2016 champions Rangers in the reverse fixture of their opening day win over the Antelopes in Uyo.