The Management of Akwa United Football Club say they express appreciation to Nigerians for their prayers and supports which they say helped a great deal in their qualification to the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup competition on Wednesday in Banjul.
Speaking after the team’s victory against Hawks FC in Banjul, Chairman of the club Elder Paul Bassey expressed gratitude, first to God and to Nigerians for standing by the team despite the first leg loss in Uyo.
Real Banjul defeated Akwa United 2-1 in Uyo.
Bassey said they were particularly grateful to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State for his massive support and trust in the team even during the most difficult times.
“His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel is a football lover who believes that hard work and dedication are the keys to success.
“His Excellency’s love and support for the beautiful game has been massive and that support was instrumental in Super Eagles qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“The Governor’s encouragement has been the motivating factor behind our qualification and we are really grateful to him and the good people of the state for this show of love.”
The club boss also extended appreciation to the state’s Honourable Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Sir Monday Ebong Uko for always motivating the team to push for success on all fronts.
The team also thanked the Nigerian Ambassador to The Gambia His Excellency Oluwasegun Ibidapo-Obe and his staff for identifying with the team and being physically present during the match.
“We wish to say a big thank you to football administrators, all our fans, supporters, and the media community who believed and stood by us despite the first leg defeat at home.
“When we received the good news that Plateau United and MFM had qualified, we knew that we had to win and we reacted positively by keeping the Nigerian flag flying in the continent.
“The level of support we received from Nigerians before the game was awesome and we thank the Almighty God who made it possible.”
Bassey heaped praises on the team’s technical crew, the players and staff whom he described as “dedicated and determined set of professionals” he has ever worked with in Nigerian club football environment.
Akwa United’s 3-2 aggregate win over Hawks FC will see them battle Al-Ittihad of Libya in the first round of CAF Confederation Cup competition next month.
The team and the extended delegation have been confirmed to now return to Nigeria on Saturday instead of Thursday as hoped.
Bassey noted, “That is the sad part of this experience. We are stuck here till Saturday because we chose not to go to Europe before coming back to Gambia just three hours away by direct flight. It took us 12 hours to arrive in Banjul with stops at Lome, Accra, and Freetown before Banjul…now we cannot leave till Saturday morning.”