Two dream starts and Aniekeme aims high with Akwa United

By Osondu Ngude

It has been just his third matchday in the top division but former Akwa Starlets man, Aniekeme Asuquo may have picked up more personal laurels than some players who have seen seasons in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Aniekeme was drafted from Akwa Starlets, the feeder team of Akwa United at the start of the new season by coach Abdu Maikaba and have in their two home games been voted Man of the Match in Uyo.

Akwa United hosted former champions, Rangers International on Matchday 1 and on Matchday 3 played host to newly promoted Yobe Stars. Both encounters ended 2-0 in favour of the Promise Keepers and on each of those fixtures, Aniekeme was picked as the outstanding player by the local media in a poll.

Moved by his meteoric rise in such a short period, the young player told “When I was promoted to the senior team from Akwa Starlets, I never imagined that it will start this good for me playing for a big club like Akwa United and also playing in the premier league but I am so grateful to God Almighty for helping me start this good.”

With two Man of the Match awards under his belt, Aniekeme is beginning to relish the beauty of the top flight by admitting it has been great so far.

“I want to thank God first for his love and mercy and again state clearly that I am just trying my best and the entire team has been very supportive all the way.

“Being the man of the match for the second time does not mean I have arrived but I am very happy because it has been all about team work and playing to the instruction of the coach,” Aniekeme said.

Akwa Starlets is not the player’s first stint in the junior cadre as he has previously played for second tier league side, Delta Force. He would go on to disclose that having watched and dreamt of playing for Akwa United, he has been encouraged and motivated by his then coach to prepare for life in the top flight.

“Watching Akwa United before now has made me strong and I must also thank my former coach at Akwa Starlets who was always there to encourage and push me to be the best that I can be as a footballer.

“Playing in the professional league thus far, I have seen how tough the league is with everyone struggling for shirts. This has toughened me and I know I will make it in the top flight,” he predicted.

While revealing that his dream is to end the season as the best attacking midfielder in the country, Aniekeme said his team’s ambition will always come first.

“I have targets which are personal but even as I try to be one of the best players in the league, the target of my club will always come first,” he stressed.

Aniekeme also showered words of praise on Maikaba, saying: “My coach is the best I have ever worked with and I am very grateful having him around.”