Following their victory over Niger Tornadoes in the final of the Federation Cup, Akwa United's Abdu Maikaba reveals he had prepared the minds of his players ahead of a possible penalty shootout.
Both sides played out a 0-0 draw in regular time, a game where the Promise Keepers were largely stifled by Abubakar Bala’s men, before the Uyo side clinched the title 3-2 from the spot.
“I had their minds prepared; I told them even if we lost a penalty it is not the end of it. That does not mean out opponents will not lose, so just keep your concentration till the end and that’s what they did,” Maikaba told Goal.
“Even in the penalties I told them it was going to be difficult.”
The former Wikki Tourists tactician also believes the type of pitch available at the Agege Stadium was responsible for their play, which lacked expression.
“From onset we knew it was not going to be easy and most especially the environment we play compared to where we used to play.
“It’s very difficult here. This is a synthetic pitch - astroturf - and we are used to natural grass. And it’s a smaller pitch than the size of our own [Godswill Akpabio International Stadium] pitch. All the same my boys do their best and at the end God rewarded us with the trophy."