On his second spell with Federation Cup champions, Akwa United, Ubong Ekpai understands that his return to the club is hinged on improved performance and helping the team’s quest for silverware in the local scene and on the continent.
Ekpai’s reunion with The Promise Keepers had been speculated months before the deal was sealed, but the flying winger shared his own side of the story with npfl.ng on arrival at the Ibom International Airport with Akwa United FC from the first round of the Super Four pre-season tournament.
The forward said the decision to team up with the Uyo side was borne out of his love and passion for the club.
“I was really convinced on the deal. I always had it in mind that my home team will come for me and I found it hard to reject the offer to once again play for a club that gave me the platform to become a professional. I had options and tempting offers from other clubs, but the only deal that would have seen me ditch Akwa United would have been an offer from a foreign club.
“I joined Akwa United to win trophies and I am certain with the quality of players in the team, we can challenge for the league title and the CAF Confederation Cup. This is the position of everyone in the squad and we are working towards achieving this at all costs,” he declared.
Ekpai joined the Uyo-based side from four-time champions, Kano Pillars, and has immediately settled in with life in his new abode. He is believed to be one of the key figures that will lead Akwa United’s quest for their first league title and a shot in the continent.
Akwa United will play Vita Club Mokanda of Congo, in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup qualifying round on February 14, and travel to Akure to face Sunshine Stars in the domestic league opener a week later.
Meanwhile, Super 4 Second Round Kicks off in Uyo
The second round of the 2016 Super 4 Pre-Season tourney kicks off in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday 1st February.
A statement by the League Management Company (LMC), indicates that the tournament will end on Friday 5th February, 2016, with the champions and other participating teams decorated in an epic event.
The pre-season tourney organized to effectively equip teams that will represent the country in the continent, had its first round in Kaduna between the 20th to 24th of January, and featured Glo Premier league champions, Enyimba FC, Federation Cup winners, Akwa United FC, League runners up, Warri Wolves and Nasarawa United, who finished third last season.
Nasarawa United finished top of the log in the first round, after amassing five points from three games, while Enyimba occupied the second spot after scrambling a 2-0 win against Warri Wolves on the final day. Akwa United are placed third, leveled on points with Enyimba FC, with the Aba side ahead on goals difference, while Warri Wolves are glued to the bottom of the log, despite winning their opener against Akwa United.
The tourney scheduled for the magnificent Godswill Akpabio Int’l Stadium, will see Akwa United engage Nasarawa United by 5pm on Monday 1st February, while Enyimba will tackle Warri Wolves in the second fixture billed for 7pm on the same day.
On Wednesday, 3rd, Enyimba and Nasarawa United will slug it out by 5pm, while Akwa United will hope to upturn the defeat the suffered in the hands of Warri Wolves in the first round, when both sides clash by 7pm.
The final matchday will provide the platform for the champions to be crowned, as Warri Wolves battle Nasarawa United by 5pm, while the late night show will feature perennial rivals, Akwa United against Enyimba FC.
MatchDay 4 – Monday Feb. 1st
Akwa Utd v Nasarawa Utd – 5pm
Enyimba v Warri Wolves – 7pm
MatchDay 5 – Wednesday Feb. 3rd
Enyimba v Nasarawa – 5pm
Warri Wolves v Akwa Utd – 7pm
MatchDay 6 – Friday Feb. 5th
Nasarawa Utd v Warri Wolves – 5pm
Akwa United v Enyimba – 7pm
All matches to be played the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.