One of the beautiful things you notice when you begin descent into the Obong Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo is the Qua Iboe River, from which the name Akwa Ibom was ostensibly derived. It sets the tone for what is truly a beautiful city, which is the home of beautiful people and two Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs.
Both sides; Akwa United and Dakkada FC will square up for the first time in a top flight game in Nigeria, today. The two teams have contrasting fortunes, which has been likened to exchange of destinies in discussions around the city.
Dakkada have surprised many this season as they have “risen up” (as the word Dakkada means in Ibibio) to the challenges they have faced in their debut season among Nigeria’s elite clubs. Currently placed second on the log well above their more illustrious local rivals, Akwa United that has typically struggled at the start of the season and are just hovering above the drop zone after nine match days.
Today, the Nest of Champions in Uyo will be the centre of attraction as brothers will shelve previous and current ties to do battle for 90 minutes.
Both teams have a couple of players in common. Wingers Aniekeme Okon Asuquo and Wisdom Fernando joined Akwa United from Dakkada, while midfielder Aniekan Ekpe and defender Ibukun Harrison, who were part of the Akwa United side that won the Federation Cup in 2015 are mainstays of the current Dakkada side.
It will also be a battle between coaches Kennedy Boboye and Caleb Esu.
While Dakkada will be hoping to continue their incredible start to the season, Plateau United who are the only side placed above them have a somewhat easy task on paper against Warri Wolves in Jos.
Abdu Maikaba’s men have been playing true to a trademark second season of the Kano-born coach and will be relying on forward players Ibrahim Mustapha, Bernard Ovoke and Nenrot Silas to down Evans Ogenyi’s men.
©Mfreke Udonkang Osaze writes for www.akwaibomdaily.com.ng