Akwa Utd

By Emeka Obasi

There is power in a name, just find out from Governor Udom Emmanuel. This man took Akwa United away from generational curse, anointed them and took the Orange Boys from grass to glory. He has three  big trophies to show for his Deliverance ministry.

Akwa United are the new Nigerian Premier League champions, a task they accomplished after hammering fire eating prayer warriors, Mountain of Fire( MFM) 5-2. The Uyo team had won the FA Cup twice earlier, all these coming since Emmanuel became governor in 2015.

Akwa United literally sent themselves to Hades in 2007 after dubiously climbing into the elite league. They defeated Calabar Rovers 13-0 to gain promotion. It was so nauseating that the Promise Keepers had to wait for 30 minutes to get the result of a game involving Bussdor of Port Harcourt.

Bussdor were also fighting to be elevated but the 13-0 pounding of Calabar Rovers by Akwa United killed that ambition. Ever since, it has been difficult for the Canaan City team to make it to the top. Bussdor, of course, never recovered from that treachery. Today they are no more.

Nemesis does not sleep. In 2009, Akwa United found themselves fighting relegation. They had 48 points, with 41 goals for and 40 goals against. Zamfara United earned 45 points, 35 goals for and 43 goals against them. The import was that both teams were fighting for survival.

Zamfara had an outstanding game in Gusau against Kaduna United. It ended 9-0 in favour of the hosts. Losers, Kaduna United had prior to the duel conceded 35 goals in 37 matches and were most unlikely to concede as many goals that followed.

Akwa United thus went down and Zamfara narrowly escaped relegation on technicalities having wiped off their goals deficiencies. To add to the pain, Orok Akarandut,leading scorer of the season went down with the Uyo team on a day he should have been celebrating.

Akarandut scored 17 goals for Akwa United to erase Ishaya Jatau’s record of 16 set in 1990. Jatau who made his Super Eagles debut at the ECOWAS Cup in Bauchi in the same year was a member of the Iwuanyanwu National squad that lost to Nkana Red Devils, Zambia in the semis of a continental championship.

Until Udom Gabriel Emmanuel became governor, Akwa United won nothing. He remembered his roots, son of Gabriel Emmanuel Nkenang, ‘Ette Teacher’. The governor was a Sunday School teacher of the Qua Iboe Church ( United Evangelical Church).

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Udom went down on his knees. He needed to sanctify his state. Sports means a lot to the people. The governor shouted his name in prayer. Emmanuel means God with us. That is why you hear the Orange Boys scream ‘the same God’.

Abasi(the Lord) made some revelations to the governor. In 2015, his first year in office, the team lifted the FA Cup. After that, Udom became a prophet. He hired Paul Bassey. Akwa United won the FA Cup in 2017. In 2020, the governor climbed the mountain, do not forget he came from Zenith bank. He saw from the top.

Kennedy Boboye was recruited as coach. It was good to have  Mfon Udoh around as one of the experienced players. We shall get to connect all these names very soon. The governor asked God for a miracle as he also prayed for Deliverance.

Boboye is a jinx breaker. He led Plateau United to win the League just as Akwa United grabbed their second FA Cup in 2017. It was the first time a team from Jos would win the Premier League in 45 years. The gods of soccer were unhappy with Mighty Jets since 1972.

Jets were crowned champions in 1972 in a questionable manner. Rangers and Jets were tied until the last matches but the Flying Antelopes had + 7 goals advantage. Jets faced Wunti in Bauchi, first half ended 1-1. Wunti had not lost at home that year.

In the second half, Jets scored seven goals to win 8-1. The import was that they had overtaken Rangers, technically. However, there was hope for the Enugu side. They were to host Octopus of Port Harcourt who they had beaten 5-1 at away.

The Army team stayed away. The NFA awarded the match to Rangers with no goals as advantage. That was how Mighty Jets became league champions in 1972. It took a Simon in Lalong to remind the gods of soccer that Jets and Plateau United were not one.

The gods remarked that on July 8, 2013 Plateau United Feeder team massacred Akurba FC 79-0. The first half ended 7-0. It was so scandalous that Akurba skipper, Arijide Saeed Timothy scored three own goals in that Nationwide League play- off.

Mfon Udoh was hot with Enyimba in 2014. Dolphin had not lost in three previous FA Cup grand finale. He stopped that with the first goal. At the end, Enyimba won 2-1. Dolphins goal came from Emem Eduok, first player to score at the Uyo Stadium.

Udoh finished that season as goleador with 23 goals. Eduok followed with 20. Akarandut was in Bahrain with Al- Hidd. He had left for CS Sfaxien in 2009.

See how Udom became a General Overseer. He brought Paul Bassey, a church elder and veteran journalist. They went for Udoh, hired Boboye and found Akarandut. And the same God of Bussdor, forgave Akwa United as Holy Ghost fire failed Mountain of Fire.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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