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Is Coach Fatai Osho solely responsible for Akwa United FC’s struggles this season..

2020/2021 Nigeria Premier Football League winners, Akwa United FC have not had a smooth start to the 2023/2024 season with bulk of the blame put on Coach Fatai Osho.

In this article, CARETAKER provides answer to the question, if Coach Fatai Osho is solely responsible for Akwa United FC’s struggles this season.


After twelve games of the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League season, Akwa United Football Club have secured eleven points from a possible thrity-six to sit 18th on the 20-team standings.

The Promise Keepers have won just two games this season, a 1-0 win over Gombe United FC in week six and a 3-2 victory over Remo Stars on matchday nine.

For a side that has over the years become one of the top-contenders for the league title, a run of five defeats, five draws [4 at home] and two wins to occupy a spot in the drop zone is strange.

The clubs teeming supporters have been vocal in criticism of Coach Fatai Osho who had promised a title push or at-least a continental spot for the Promise Keepers this season.


To this question, CARETAKER will give a NO response.

There are other factors which have contributed to Akwa United’s struggles this season.

This response does not exempt him from taking slams and criticism though, bulk of the blame falls at his feet.

He is the Head Coach. He was in-charge of the recriutment, pre-season and has worked with this lads for the 1st quater of the 2023/2024 season.

So he takes sixty-percent of the blame.


Sudden depature of key players: Akwa United FC in the off-season lost close to 70% of its playing personnel. The key departures which CARETAKER believes has seriously affected the club’s performance is the sudden exit of midfielder Cyril Olisema who left the shores of Nigeria few weeks to the season kickoff and the transfer issues involving, experienced forward, Ubong Friday.

Put Cyril Olisema and Ubong Friday in this Akwa United FC team and they will flourish in the games where experience and decisive thinking have cost the Promise Keepers valuable points.

In both cases, the club cannot be blamed, for exmaple, Ubong Friday who is now back at the club but unavailable until mid-season had pushed for a transfer abroad and so was unavailable until the close of registration.

Cyril Olisema was integral to the teams pre-season preparations, that was why Osho in his first week as coach of the Promise Keepers got the team playing great football at the Naija Super-8 pre-season tournament.

Olisema was a key part of that outing, his passes, hold-up play and goals, instrumental to the semi-final run in Lagos.

Cyril Olisema in action for Akwa United FC at the Naija Super-8 tournament
Cyril Olisema [Orange] in action for Akwa United FC at the Naija Super-8 tournament
Unfortunately for Coach Osho, when an irresistible offer arrived from a yet to be revealed club abroad, the experienced midfielder moved thus leaving a big vaccum in the middle of the pack one that is clearly evident for everyone who has closely followed the club’s performance this season.

Failing to heed pre-season signals: Akwa United FC recorded poor results in pre-season, enough signals that all will not be well when the season starts but instead the thinking maybe was that the new-look team needed time to blend.

After the first-quarter of NPFL games, it has become clear that there was need to get experienced replacement in midfield for Cyril Olisema. 

In the writers opinion, once the middle is not solid , the attackers cannot flourish same way the defenders will face serious pressure and so leak goals.

Away from home-comfort: Due to the packed international fixture schedule of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Akwa United FC have had to play its home matches at the Eket Stadium.

This club barely has a packed VIP section like its assured of when playing in Uyo.

Fans in Eket have turned down buying tickets to watch the matches, and so, the Promise Keepers have not really enjoyed passionate home support, that the Nest of Champions would have offered.


Akwa United FC sitting in the relegation zone is a strange sight for not only the club’s fans but also keen followers of the Nigeria Premier League.

Since the advent of the Elder Paul Bassey led management team, the structure, mentality and pedigree of Akwa United FC has transformed to title-challengers with professional methods and first-class welfare packages, reason the early season struggle attracts special interest, more than the other teams at the wrong end of the table .

Going forward, Coach Fatai Osho must move beyond lamenting over the quality of players at his disposal to setting up an Akwa United team that will win games, in a fine or ugly manner.

He [Osho] must crack his tactics box for a formula to turn things around from the week thirteen home-clash vs high-flying Lobi Stars FC.

CARETAKER believes, failing to win at least one of the next three NPFL games [ Lobi Stars, Heartland FC, Sunshine Stars ], could hold fatal consequences for the former Rivers United FC assistant coach as the Akwa United management may land the axe when faced with heated pressure from the fans who have heaped the entire blame on Coach Fatai Osho .

He is not a bad coach, but one who has found himself in a complex situation for failing to make some big decisions at a big club before the season started.

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