The Promise Keepers started the 2016-17 season poorly garnering only two points from their first two home matches against Rivers United and Sunday's opposition.
With a tough tie against the Flying Antelopes as their first game of the 2017-18 Nigeria Professional Football League campaign, the former Wikki Tourists handler says his players are turbocharged to run the rule over Gbenga Ogunbote's wards.
“We knew that we had it rough last season at the early part of the season before we stabilized. It was this and many other reasons that made us have the type of recruitment that we had and I expect my players to rise up to the occasion," Maikaba told Goal .
“With the modalities that we have put in place, I don’t see Rangers standing as a stumbling block. It won’t be easy for them this term. I have told my players that they should play with relaxed minds that the goals will come at the right time. They do not have any reason to be under pressure.
“We do not expect any easy game. We want to finish higher than we did last season and we must be at our best and be ready to beat our other competitors to show our seriousness. Rangers are one of them and we must be at our best against them and other teams too,” he disclosed.
Akwa United finished fourth in the top-flight standings before clinching the 2017 Federation Cup title to secure a berth to represent Nigeria in the CAF Confederation Cup this year.