A very special football match will be played today at the ‘Cathedral’, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu when two grand establishments in Nigerian football, Akwa United and Rivers United go toe to toe for the right to play in the last 16 of Nigeria’s oldest football competition, the AITEO (Federation) Cup.
Akwa reached this stage of the competition by beating Sokoto United 2-1 at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja in the round of 64 while Rivers United outclassed FC Timberloader 4-0 at the Lafia City Stadium, Lafia at the same stage.
Wednesday’s game is extremely vital for both Nigeria Professional Football League clubs as success will mean their only route to the continent, next season, remains ajar.
Akwa is a side laced with top talent; Jean Efala, Olorunleke Ojo, Ottobong Effiong, Kodjovi Dadzie Ubong Essien, Dennis Nya, Wilson Elu, Cyril Olisema and Ndifreke Effiong easily roll off the tongue.
There’s also the small matter of feared marksman, Mfon Udoh who is surrounded by a stellar caste which includes Wisdom Fernando, Ocheme Edoh and Godspower Aniefiok.
Akwa also have the luxury of having two former Rivers United players, Markson Ojobo and Emeka Atuloma who both represented the ‘Pride of Rivers’ in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup where they reached the group stages of the competition to call on, for ‘inside information’ about the Port Harcourt club.