Scoring first has been found to be a very crucial index in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this season.
Teams that score first in games have gone ahead to at least avoid defeat in over 80 per cent of matches played so far this season. Hence, the task faced by Akwa United when they hosted Heartland on Sunday became more complicated when they went behind in the 15th minute to a piece of magic by Samuel Nnoshiri en route to Chukwuemeka Obioma’s goal.
The Promise Keepers were yet to win a game when they conceded first this season and when it happened again on Sunday, there was a feeling of dejavu among the fans. Boboye told www.npfl.ng after the game that preparing the players towards that helped them afterall.
“We discussed before this game because it (conceding first) was what happened in our last games at home.
“When we conceded the first goal, everybody’s head was down, nobody was showing class of bringing the ball from the net and let’s play so we discussed it extensively that in case it happens, just go and bring the ball because the way they scored, so we too can score. So I think that was what worked for us,” explained Boboye.
This season has been far from plain-sailing for Akwa United. A rather poor start to the season saw John Obuh given the boot with Boboye called in to rescue the remains left of the season.
The former league winner with Plateau United began with five straight wins but he has now had his own share of bad patch in recent games. Losing 0-2 in their last two games before Sunday. He admits it was not an easy period.
“It’s not been easy, it’s just about hard work because we had to go back to the drawing board like my other colleagues will say when you have difficulties like this.
“The last two games we lost, we did so woefully and it has caused us some setbacks in the league so we’re just trying to recover lost time which this victory (over Heartland) sets us on that path,” continued Boboye.
Three of Boboye’s new signings (six in all) made their first appearance for Akwa United in Sunday’s game.
Centre back Olisa Ndah became an instant favourite with the fans with his assured display while winger Ifeanyi Eze and striker Saidu Salisu put in decent shifts.
“We brought the new players in to come and fortify the team. They definitely have to play a game, not minding which game they are being fixed in because you can’t keep them on the bench. They are here to come and work and beef up the team,” Boboye explained