Ndifreke Effiong grabbed a brace as Akwa United recorded their first win of the 2023 abridged Nigeria Professional Football League season in a 3-0 thrashing of Nasarawa United in Jos.
James Ajako put Akwa in front in the 43rd minute with a sublime finish while Effiong scored his first goal of the encounter in the 47th minute, two minutes after resumption from half time break
He doubled his tally in the 74th minute to put the game beyond the hosts who are yet to record a win this season.
The win is the first for the Promise Keepers in three league games. They lost their opening game of the season to newcomers Bendel Insurance 2-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo while they played out a goalless draw against Enyimba in their matchday 2 fixture in Aba.
Reacting to the result of the game, Akwa United coach, Deji Ayeni, hailed the performance of his players also revealing that Akwa’s target this season is to return to playing on the continent.
“Nigerian football has gone to the level of which, if you prepare psychologically, tactically and mentally, you can go to any ground and get your points. Bendel Insurance came to our backyard and shocked us with a 2-0 win. After that, we decided to bring ourselves together, built our house.
“The team has a target for the season and that is to return to the continent. I believe we can achieve it with what is happening now. Our plan is to move on from this point and not lose points. You can see the resilience and doggedness of the boys.”
Ayeni also hailed the impact of Effiong who grabbed his first brace of the season.
“Ndifreke is an experienced player and he has a lot of international exposure. At a point he was tired but I kept him on because I know the psychological advantage his presence on the pitch has and when he had scored his brace, I decided to take him out.”