By Promise Etim
Akwa United head coach, Fatai Osho, has expressed worry over his team’s poor start to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) campaign.
The former Enyimba FC handler made the disclosure at a post-match briefing after the Promise Keepers were held to a barren draw at home by visiting Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) at the Eket Township Stadium on Sunday.
The 2021 NPFL champions had hoped to seal their first win (of the campaign) against Gbenga Ogunbote’s side after failing in three attempts, including a scoreless draw at home to newcomers Sporting Lagos a fortnight ago.
Osho told npfl.com.ng that he is worried by the quality of his attack and believes his side deserved to have amassed the three points of the fixture.
“We deserved all the maximum points in the game. We encountered the same problem in the previous matchdays, breaking the opponents’ defence line but failing to convert opportunities created. It is unfortunate, and we will do our best to plug the gaps in the coming games,” he noted.
The visitors had goalkeeper Darlington Ovunda to thank for his heroics, denying the home team opportunities to find the back of the net eight times in the fixture.
The former Rivers United goaltender was drawn into action within three minutes of the game, forcing quick saves off Osoba Kabir and Seyi Oguntayo. Ovunda also got the better of Rilwan Sadiq’s header on 28 minutes before denying Hadi Mohammed from 10 yards moments before the break.
Substitute Kufre Ebong should have put the home side in front in the 56th minute. The former Warri Wolves marskman rounded goalkeeper Ovunda, but could not manage a strike from a tight angle. Oguntayo had his shot from the resultant cross parried to safety.
Ebong’s miss at the stroke of full-time capped a frustrating afternoon for the home side, who are yet to win a game in four attempts.
Ahead of the matchday, Akwa United had dropped four from the Matchday 3 squad that narrowly lost (3-2) away to Enyimba FC. David Phillip, Mubarak Said, Rilwan Sadiq, and Osoba Kabir were named in the starting list.
Ogunbote made two changes to his Matchday 3 squad against Gombe United, handing Mustapha Adams a debut, while Daddy Abdulrahman was also drafted in to boost the midfield in a 4-5-1 formation.
A visibly happy Ogunbote said his side were technically ready for the fixture, knowing the quality possessed by the home team.
Akwa United travel to Benin City to face Bendel Insurance on Matchday 5 while Shooting Stars await the visit of Doma United.
Akwa United 0-0 3SC
On Target: 11-1
Fouls won: 19-13