CLUB NEWS

Akas backs Ogunbote to steer Enyimba to the top

By Fisayo Dairo

Enyimba FC left-back Chima Akas is adamant the team are on the right track under the guidance of the head of coaching crew, Gbenga Ogunbote.

The Peoples Elephant who currently play their home games at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar due to endless repairs on their home turf in Aba are placed seventh on the NPFL log halfway gone in the season.

For a team with Enyimba's pedigree, seventh at this point may not always be acceptable and some members of the playing personnel and coaching crew have come under fire from fans at one point or the other during the season but first choice left-back, Akas has assured Ogunbote is the right man to help the club progress.

"He's a good coach any club will ever have and with the kind of work he puts into it on and off-the-pitch, I believe we (Enyimba) are on the right track with his commitment, dedication and discipline," said Akas to www.npfl.ng.

"It's not the first time I'm working with him. He is my coach and like a father to me so you ought to understand what that means,' added the Super Eagles star who also played under Ogunbote at defunct Sharks FC of Port Harcourt.

Despite acknowledging that the club are not where they wanted to be, Akas however thinks they have not been bad overall while also of the opinion that performances will improve in the second stanza.

"I will say we really tried our best in the first stanza but our best was not good enough because we are not where we wanted to be.

"We still thank God for the (7th) position we are so it was not a bad return for us and I believe we will do much better in this second stanza," enthused Akas who has started twelve league games this term.

At the start of the 2016/17 season, Enyimba promoted young left back Ikouwem Udoh to the senior team from their feeders and the youngster has deputized for Akas whenever he was unavailable. Akas also spoke about the lad's ability and his words of encouragement for him.

"He is a fantastic young player who is really working hard and is determined to improve his performance and ability.

"He is also my friend and I always encourage him to stay focused and become the better player he wants to be."

On a personal note, Akas is known for his knack for scoring and creating goals from dead ball situations, scoring three goals via free kicks last season and creating a further three assists. This term, he has not been that lucky with his hits but the soft-talking defender is not losing his sleep, believing that more is to come.

"You know sometimes it may get hard a little but you need to stay focused and believe in yourself. That is what I'm doing and I am working on it. I believe I will score many chances I have to lift my club, either from free kicks or any other means."

Enyimba will kick-start the second stanza with a road trip to basement side Remo Stars and 23-year old Akas while restating his belief that his team will finish high says his teammates must brace up to achieve their desired aim.

"All we want is the league title and the Federation Cup (Nigeria's Cup competition) and if you want the league title, you know the position you need to occupy.

"In this second stanza, I believe with the current team spirit and determination, we will start well and finish it by clinching the titles," concluded the 2016 CHAN star.

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