Akwa United is the name on the lips of the fans of the elite league in the country. They are currently crowned the champions of NPFL.
The 2021 league season started with Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Rivers United were all on the lips of pundits and NPFL enthusiasts as contenders for the title.
Expectedly, the Aba Elephants won the title last season and overcome a tough rival in Rivers United in the last round of CAF Confederations Cup qualifying stage on penalties.
Rivers United had beaten Future Kings and Bloem Celtics of South Africa in preliminary rounds of qualification and as such had raised hopes of a successful season.
Akwa United – An Unexpected Champion But A Champion Well Deserve
Kano Pillars may not have won the NPFL since 2014, but they have more consistency than the likes of Enugu Rangers and Plateau United that were crowned champions recently.
Despite having as many as 6 different teams sharing the top spot in the early days of the season, it was Akwa United who managed a bit of stability and has not looked back since matchday 26 when they skipped Kano Pillars to the title.
The Sai Masu Gida had the luxury of Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa for a couple of match weeks but it didn’t help their quest in returning as the champions of the NPFL got the first time since their treble in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Enyimba was busy with continental duties with the CAF Confederations Cup but the People’s Elephant couldn’t go past the quarter-final.
Irrespective, Fatai Osho’s side still stands just a mathematical chance, two wins in their last two matches with emphatic scores and an expectation on Akwa United to lose to MFM in Uyo and their last away game of the season.
The Promise keepers have not won the league title in their history since being established in 1996 but they have had two Federation Cup titles to themselves in 2015 and 2017.
Nevertheless, their imminent title win has been worth it, every statistic has shown a team that has been dedicated to its title charge.
Kennedy Boboye’s men have already had more points total (68) with two matches left, than Plateau United’s 66 in 2017, Enugu Rangers’ 63 points in 2016. They are also just 2 points away from Eyinmba’s 70 in 2015.
They could finish with 74 points (if they win their last two games), one more point than Rivers United’s 73 points in 2011.
Akwa United’s away form this season is better than Eyinmba albeit they both are on 20 points. Akwa United has scored and 14 goals and conceded the same number in that duration.
In an NPFL where away games are difficult to win, Akwa United has lost just four times and won three times on the road with the rest being stalemates.
Kennedy Boboye’s side also made the Godswill Akpabio a fortress this season failing to pick all maximum points on two occasions against Wikki Tourist and Rangers all season.
It is unlikely they will falter against MFM FC whom they defeated in Lagos when both sides meet in Uyo on Sunday.
The Olukoya Boys may have defeated Warri Wolves and FC Ifeanyi Ubah away from home this season but both teams are two of the poorest sides in the NPFL this season and it is not expected that MFM will cause an upset.
Nevertheless, the Promise Keepers have done their job and despite the controversial ends to the previous seasons in the NPFL, this is a well-deserved title win for Champions Akwa United, the best since Rangers’ win 2016.