NPFL: Aiteo Cup winners unveil 16 new players, ‘to improve on 2017 achievements

NPFL: Aiteo Cup winners unveil 16 new players, ‘to improve on 2017 achievements

Ahead of the 2017/2018 football season, Akwa United head coach Abdu Maikaba has given an insight into why the Uyo based club signed as many as sixteen new players.

The 2017 AITEO Cup champions unveiled their newly signed players at the weekend ahead of what is expected to be a long season for them, as they compete in the league, Aiteo Cup and CAF Confederation Cup.

Some of those signed by the Promise Keepers include Victor Mbaoma, who notched up 12goals for relegated Remo Stars last season.

Enyimba’s Kelly Kester, and Adeshina Gata, nicknamed ‘Lionel Messi’, who joins from ABS of Ilorin are other prominent names in the group.

Speaking on the reason behind the decision to sign so many players, Maikaba revealed, amongst other things, the plan to not only improve on the success of last season, but to also build a solid foundation for the future.

“I have the belief that what we have now is a continuation of the work we did last season,” Maikaba told www.aclsports.com

“This is a combination of youth and experience, [we are] hoping to do a better work with them this season.

“Last season, I promised a continental spot and I got it in the AITEO cup. The aspiration this time around is that of five years to come, how Akwa will look like in five years.

“At the pre-season we went for in Kano, some of the new players already proved beyond reasonable doubt that they can be part of the team at any time.

“Alhassan has left, Gata is here to replace him, Aremu Afeez left, Kelly Kester, with vast experience at the continent is here to replace him same as Etim Matthew, who is also around to continue with our project in Akwa united.

“Otegbeye who is an upcoming, strong striker in the league is here to add to our finishing power.

“What we achieved in 2017, we will try to improve on it in 2018,” the former Wikki Tourist coach added.

The unveiling of the players, which took place on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Int’l Stadium, preceded an exhibition match between players of the team.

The game ended 3-1, with two of the newly acquired players, Kator Haggai, and Victor Mbaoma on target.

“Akwa-Ibom is a home for everybody,” Ajibola Otegbeye who joins from Sunshine Stars said.

“We will be competing for the NPFL title, CAF confederation Cup and the AITEO cup. I promise everybody Insha Allah that we will bring the trophy back to Akwa-Ibom,” he added.

Meanwhile, the club also held a thanksgiving service on Sunday to commemorate their success last season, while also handing over the upcoming one to God at the Apostolic Church Ukana Oruk Area headquarters, Essien Udim L.G.A of Akwaibom state.

The thanksgiving service was attended by the coach, players and management of the team, alongside other dignitaries, amongst them the Special Adviser to the governor on sports, and Chairman of Akwa United, Paul Bassey, Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Monday Uko, Commissioner of Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, the Akwaibom State FA Chairman Emmanuel Iba, as well as Directors in the sports ministry.

Full list of the 16 newly signed players

Additional report by Ekikere Monday-Udofia

    Leave a Reply