Maikaba left bewildered by worst game ever as a coach

By Fisayo Dairo

Since taking the helms of affair at Wikki Tourists before the 2015 NPFL season, Abdu Maikaba can practically do no wrong in the dug-out: his simple, yet sophisticated footballing philosophy leaving mouths agape and providing all sorts of entertainment matched equally with good results.

Maikaba’s current side Akwa United still find themselves in the top-four of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) table after 14 games in spite of their present run of poor form which has seen them pick just one point out of a possible nine.

United lost 0-2 at Sudanese side Al Hilal in the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday and returned straight to domestic duties on Thursday but were handed a defeat in like manner by Rivers United courtesy of goals by Emeka Ogbugh and Malachy Ohawume.

United were poor as was admitted by the honest Maikaba although he provided some reasoning into their poor showing.

“We are out here to make a good game and a good win but unfortunately, I can say this is my worst game as a coach,” the former school teacher lamented to npfl.ng after the game.

“This is my worst game I have seen as a coach and I believe fatigue can be seen in my players after our journey from Sudan which we travelled all night. It was difficult the following day we had to start coming here (to Port Harcourt), I believe it is part of the reason.”

With the reigning Cup champions failing to muster a single shot on target throughout the duration of Thursday’s loss, it was obvious that fatigue alone cannot be the reason for such performance which left expectant fans – mostly Port Harcourt-based Akwa Ibom indigenes – disappointed.

“Apart from that (the fatigue and trips), the team did not play well. They did not play to instructions all through the game. I hope it will be a lesson to us so that we can get it right on Wednesday (against Al Hilal),” said Maikaba.

Football is a game of goals and the toughest of footballing battles are decided by goals. After a blazing start to the season, the goals seem to have dried up for United – a worrisome trend for Maikaba.

They have scored only a goal in their last four games in all competitions and lost three of the four games 2-0. The national Under-20 assistant coach now has his sight set on a fast approaching breakthrough.

“It is fortunate for us that the (transfer) window is around the corner.

“A team that did not score one single goal in the last four games is something to worry about. No matter how good your defence is, if you’re not scoring, you will concede and this is what is happening to Akwa United at the moment. We find it very difficult to score and more usually away from home.

“But if you can go back to the beginning of the season, after five weeks, we were the highest scoring team with the same players so we have to look for the reason. Either fatigue is setting in or there is a problem which we have to look into and get it right,” he submitted.

Akwa United are relieved of league duties this weekend as they take extra days off to prepare for the decisive leg of their make or mar Confederation Cup clash with Al Hilal Omdurman next Wednesday in Uyo.