September, 11 2021.
CREDIT: Mfon Patrick
Akwa United head coach Kennedy Boboye has expressed confidence that his team has the needed experience to record victory against Algerian Champions CR Belouizdad in the first leg of their CAF Champions League preliminary round match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Sunday.
The Promise Keepers' will be competing in Africa's premier club competition for the first time in their 25 year history after emerging Champions at the just concluded 2020/2021 NPFL season.
Coach Boboye in an exclusive interview with the club's official website www.akwaunitedfc.com revealed that his team will go for total victory against the Algerian Champions on Sunday.
"Being Champions of Nigeria has given us this opportunity to play in the CAF Champions League and we won't leave anything to chance because we are fully aware of the importance of this game and the exposure this competition will give us.
"I have played at the CAF Champions League as a player and I was in-charge of Plateau United in 2018 when they played in the Champions League. So I believe that I have quality players in my team who have champions league experience having previously played at this level of football" Boboye observed.
Sunday's clash against the Algerian Champions will not be Akwa United's first outing at the continental level, having previously featured in CAF second tier competition; CAF Confederations Cup in 2016 and 2018, when they won the Nigerian Federation Cup in 2015 and 2017 season respectively.
Coach Boboye believes that the calibre of players in his team have the needed experience to get the job done on Sunday.
"Akwa United have played at the continent before, so it won't be a new experience for the team, with the quality of players we have, I'm convinced that we have what it takes not just to win on Sunday, but to win well. At this stage of the competition, much will depend on the number of goals scored and we will do our best to convert all the chances that will come our way," said Boboye.
Akwa United have played eight matches at the continental level in two appearances in the CAF Confederations Cup, recording four wins and four loses.
They have beaten two North African opponents at the Nest of Champions. A 1-0 win over Alittihad of Libya and a 3-1 victory over Al Hilal of Sudan all in 2018. The Promise Keepers however lost at home to Vita Club of Congo in 2016 and also suffered a 1-2 defeat in the hands of Hawks of Gambia.
Away from home, Akwa United have also won two and lost two of their four games on the road. A 0-1 win over Vita Club Mokanda in 2016 and a 0-2 victory of Hawks of Gambia in Banjul. They lost 1-0 to Al-ittihad of Libya and also suffered a 2-0 defeat to Al Hilal of Sudan in 2018.
The Nigerian champions have veterans in their ranks such as one-time CAF Champions League top scorer Mfon Udoh, Sampson Gbadebo, Godspower Tower, Dare Ojo, Wasiu Alalade, Denis Nya and Akarandut Orok who have lots of Champions league experience.
The Promise Keepers will go for broke in Uyo, and will be hoping to go to Algiers with a healthy advantage knowing that victory in the two legged knockout game will move them a step closer to the money spinning group stage.