Head coach of Akwa United Football Club of Uyo has praised his players for exhibiting positive attitude and strong character in their 1-1 draw with Rivers United on match-day 20 of the 2021/2022 Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL) season.
The pride of Rivers took the lead through Etim Mathew’s own goal in the first half before Adeyeye Adeyemi equalized early in the second half as both sides share the spoils in Uyo.
Coach Ayodeji Ayeni, who was announced as the new coach of Akwa United ten days before the game, told sports journalists that he was impressed with the level of improvement and determination of his players which he said was instrumental in their fight back from a goal down to rescue a point against league leaders Rivers United at the Nest of Champions on Saturday.
“I want to give kudos to my boys, because most of them joined the team barely few days before this game and they have been able to adjust and play the way they did. I must say that I’m really impressed with our performance against a team like Rivers United. I have to give it to my players for their excellent fighting spirit which fetched us the one point. Honestly, we wanted to win but since one point is all we got, we have to accept it and move on with plans on how to get ourselves back to winning ways and I’m sure we will get it right next time. I’m not disappointed with the outcome of the match. All I can say is that we have quality players in this team and it’s very possible for us to end this season on a high,” the coach said .
Ayeni named five new players in his starting line-up including returnee;Etim Mathew, Christopher Nwaeze, Bello Babatunde, Orji Kalu and Adeyeye Adeyemi.
After 20 rounds of matches Akwa United now have 28 points comprising seven victories, seven draws and six losses.
The Promise Keepers will next travel up north to engage Kano Pillars in their adopted home at the Mohammadu Dikko Stadium in Katsina on Wednesday.
The visitors took the lead in the 17th minute after Matthew Etim diverted Kazie Eyinnaya’s cross into his own net.
Rivers United held onto the lead until the end of the first half.
However, two minutes after the restart, Adeyeye Adeyemi levelled for Akwa United after he was set up by Etim.
Rivers United are now unbeaten in their last 11 NPFL games.
Stanley Eguma’s side remain top of the table with 43 points from 20 matches.