FEDERATION CUP: Akwa United Coach Excited by Final Appearance

Zachary Baraje (Pic: Supersport)
The coach of Akwa United, Zachary Baraje, has declared he is excited by the prospects of becoming the first man to win a trophy for the Akwa Ibom state side.

Baraje, who had coached both Shooting Stars of Ibadan and Enyimba of Aba, will undoubtedly see a trophy win with Akwa United should they accomplish it, the crowning moment of his career.

“This is the first time that Akwa United will play in the final of the Federation Cup and I am happy that I led them to achieve this feat,” Baraje said.

“I want to make history with the team by winning the trophy in our first time of making it to the final of the competition.

“Akwa United may not have done well in the Nigeria Premier League, but we are in the Federation Cup and we are going to win it this first time that we have qualified for the final.

“The people of Akwa Ibom have been very supportive and they deserve to see the trophy when we beat Lobi Stars on Sunday.”

Skippers at war

Meanwhile, the skippers of both Akwa United and Lobi Stars, are embroiled in war of words.

Terna Ikpeen, the skipper of Lobi Stars and Akwa United Captain, Otonbong Effiong both had strong words ahead of the showdown.

“We have the experience in Cup game having won the trophy in 2003. We know how to play Cup matches,” Ikpeen said.

“Akwa United might be a good side, but they should wait for their time to win this trophy. This is not their year, we are ready and everything is working in our favour in this competition.

“We are poised to lift the trophy and take it to Makurdi to tell our supporters that we are a good side irrespective our performance in the Nigeria Professional Football League. We know what is at stake and I am optimistic that we are going to win the trophy and become champions again,” he concluded.

Effiong disagrees, insisting that the pain of two years ago, when they lost in the semifinals, will spur them on this time.

“Two seasons ago, we lost in the semifinals to Warri Wolves,” he said.

“But we have bounced back to play in the final two years later. We are not coming to Lagos to count the bridges. We are coming with one aim: And that is to win the trophy for the first time ever.

“We played Lobi Stars twice this year and we know the way they play. I Sincerely believe that we have a better team and that will be put into play on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“This is one opportunity that we don't want to pass us by. This is our first final and we are going to also win the trophy for the first time.

“The Government, management and fans are behind us and we will not want to fail them in our first attempt”

The game kicks off at 3pm on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun stadium, following the Women Final which kicks off at 1pm.

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