Akwa United won the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League title after defeating MFM FC 5-2 in their penultimate fixture of the season on Sunday.
Charles Atshimene stood out for the hosts at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium as his hat-trick of goals helped crush the Olukoya Boys. Alimi Adebayo’s own goal and a goal from Mfon Udoh was enough to help Kennedy Boboye’s side lift the trophy with a game to spare.
BUT HERE ARE 10 IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE NEW NIGERIAN CHAMPIONS
- This would be the Promise Keepers’ first-ever top-flight crown in their 25-year history becoming the 20th Nigerian club to win the first division title. Akwa United was founded in 1996.
- The 2020/21 league win adds to their trophy cabinet which has two FA Cups (2015 and 2017) and the Nigeria Super Cup (2016).
- Akwa United was orignally founded as Ibom Stars Football Club and began their professional campaign in the 1996/1997 Pro League season (the second-tier football league).
- After an eleven-year stinct in the Pro League (Lower Division), Ibom Stars gained promotion to the Nigeria Premier League in 2007/2008 season. In their first season in the NPL, the team competed as Akwa United FC and played its home matches at Uyo Township Stadium.
- After finishing their first season in 14th position with 48 points, they got relegated in their second season – 2008-2009 having finished in 17th position, but returned to the Premier League in the 2009/2010 season – they have not gotten relegated since then.
- In 2015, Akwa United officially left their old home ground – the Uyo Township Stadium and moved to the magnificent 30,000 capacity Godswill Akpabio International Stadium which was built by ex-Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio.
- Also in 2015, they made club history by winning the Federation Cup in November, beating Lobi Stars of Makurdi 2–1 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos – their first major trophy. A feat that qualified them to play in the CAF Confederation Cup – their first ever outing at the continental level. They however got knocked out in the first round by Congolese side Vita Club Mokanda.
- Their second FA Cup title (AITEO Cup, renamed from Federation Cup for sponsorship reasons) came in 2017.
- Their first league win in the 2020/2021 season would be the first time since 2015 a Nigerian clubside (Enyimba) would win the premier league with 70 points or more. It would also be the first time since 1992 a Nigerian league champion (Stationary Stores) would lose only 4 times in a season.
- Enroute their title win, Kennedy Boboye’s side set a new NPFL record of 18 consecutive matches unbeaten (10 wins, 8 draws), eclipsing the record of 14 matches previously held by Enyimba. Akwa United’s run ended in a 1-0 defeat to Katsina United in June 2021.