Akwa United head coach Abdu Maikaba has admitted he knows nothing about his side’s AITEO Cup Round of 32 opponents Aklosendi FC.
The current Cup holders began their title defence with a 7-0 drubbing of third division side Hope of Glory on Sunday and were rewarded with a tie against the Nigeria National League (NNL) side scheduled for this Sunday in Enugu.
“I can say it’s a good draw for us but the only issue we have is that we don’t have an idea about our opponents,” began Maikaba to www.aclsports.com
“In this type of competition, there is no small teams. Any team can surprise highly rated teams but even without knowing them, we can use the first twenty minutes of the game to know our opponents and then carry on with them as we did against Hope of Glory,” said Maikaba.
Truthfully, the Promise Keepers failed to score in the opening twenty-five minutes of their Round of 64 game decided at the Sharks Football Stadium in Port Harcourt but the moment they found the curtain raiser a minute later, there was no going back for the 2015 and 2017 Champions.
“We found it very difficult in the first twenty minutes but when we have an idea about the opponents, we just passed instructions to our players knowing fully that we have understood where our opponents are weak and where they are strong and we instructed them to capitalise on this and the result started coming after twenty minutes
“We can also do the same to Aklosendi. We need to know them and we can do that in the first fifteen, twenty minutes of the game,” added the former Wikki Tourists coach.
Sunday’s game is billed for the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium in Enugu, a venue where Akwa United held stadium owners Rangers to a draw during the league season. Maikaba insists that his side will not underrate the boys from Nasarawa State.
“I don’t underrate the teams that are drawn against us because we have seen Standard FC, a non-league side beating the current league champions.
“We have seen Sokoto United, an NNL side beating MFM FC so I think there is no big team in this competition only that it depends on your preparation and how you approach your opponents and we will never be complacent no matter the level of our opponents.
“We will try to do it the best way so that we can proceed to the next level,” concludes Maikaba.
Winners of Sunday’s Round of 32 fixtures will be drawn in four groups of four in the build-up to the finals of this year’s AITEO Cup tournament.