Katsina United head coach Henry Makinwa has hailed his side’s defensive masterclass which earned them a 0-0 draw against Akwa United in a 2019/20 NPFL game decided at the Nest of Champions in Uyo on Wednesday.
The away side, shorn of many first-team regulars produced a resolute performance to frustrate their hosts for the most parts of the Match Day 4 game. Makinwa was a grateful man after the game.
“It’s a defensive masterclass; and when you know how to do it very well, you get the point and that’s a fair result,” said Makinwa to npfl.ng after the game.
Makinwa’s side were pegged back for the larger parts of the game but they had goalkeeper Abdullahi Boje to thank for a stellar performance which included a penalty save in the second half.
Boje who also played under Makinwa at ABS FC was in his best element right from the blast of the whistle, making two saves in as many minutes in the eighth minute of the first half. He first kept out a first-time effort by Akwa United captain Mfon Udoh after some good work by Etboy Akpan before keeping out midfielder Morice Chukwu’s piledriver from 25 yards
Katsina United had no single attempt at their opponent’s goal throughout the first half but they maintained an impregnable shape which frustrated their opponents as the clock ticked away with the fading evening sunshine in Uyo.
Makinwa, however, said the ultra-defensive masterclass was not their first plan for the game.“It (the defensive approach) actually was not what we planned to do initially but we had some problems so we had to change the plan to be a bit defensive and it gave us the point,” continued the former Abia Warriors coach.
“We have the main team back at home (due to injury) and one of the strikers that was supposed to play got ill here. The goalkeeper also got ill so we had to use a 19-year old boy in the attack. We have to be grateful for the point regardless.”
With goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko who has played the team’s last three games staying on the bench due to illness, Boje made his stay count and even saved Udoh’s 78th-minute penalty after Alex Godwin had handled substitute Aniekeme Asuquo’s cross.
His team saw out the final twelve minutes and additional time to earn their first away point of the season. “I won’t lie to you, talk about the attack, we were zero today because we couldn’t attack.
“I think Akwa played the better football and won every sector of the game but we have a point and I am very happy with that because that is what will give you credibility at the end of the season,” concluded Makinwa.
Katsina United will now make the long trip back home to face Sunshine Stars on Sunday while Akwa United will continue their search for a first win of the season when they host Nasarawa United in Uyo.