Akwa United in baptism of fire in Congo

Akwa United in baptism of fire in Congo
Akwa United Belgian coach Maurice Cooreman

by Samm Audu

Friday Feb 12, 2016. 07:39

Nigeria cup holders Akwa United face a rather difficult task on their debut in the CAF Confederation Cup at Congo’s V Club Mokanda in Pointe Noire on Saturday.

Last year, perennial strugglers in the Nigeria league Akwa United won their first-ever major trophy when they upset Lobi Stars 2-1 in the country’s cup final to qualify to feature in the 2016 Confederation Cup.

Experienced goalkeeper Bassey Akpan has promised Akwa will not disappoint on their international debut.

“We have been waiting for this opportunity to play on the continent and we will not disappoint Nigerians," vowed the shot stopper who has played in the league in Vietnam.

“The encounter will not be an easy one because our opponents are a good side, but we just have to be strong to achieve our dream."

The confidence of the team from the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been boosted after they won a pre-season tournament that included Nigeria champions Enyimba and Warri Wolves, who will both feature in the CAF Champions League.

They are led by experienced Belgian coach Maurice Cooreman, who replaced history-making Zakary Baraje, and have improved their squad with several top signings like Jude Aneke, who was top scorer of the Nigeria league four years ago.

However, they lost their leading scorer Aniekpeno Udoh, who has moved to Norway after he netted nine goals in the league last season.

Striker Friday Obong, who was top scorer in their successful cup run, will now be expected to provide the goals.

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