Akwa United goalkeeper Ojo Olorunleke has spoken of the Promise Keepers experience in Banjul, Gambia when they took on Hawks FC on Wednesday.
Akwa United overturned a two-goal deficit after a shock first leg home defeat in Uyo to Hawks FC in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round.
The 2017 AITEO Cup champions produced a blistering performance with a 2-0 away win at Hawks FC in Banjul. Cyril Olisema’s goals in each half of the encounter helped the Uyo based club progress to the second round of the CAF second tier club competition by a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
“The experience in Banjul was amazing and challenging, especially after the first leg shock home defeat,” said a relieved Olorunleke. “The challenge to score two goals and keep our goal clean, it wasn’t easy to achieve. One of the toughest moment for me at Akwa United [having to overturn the first leg loss] and I am excited we sailed through with a great performance.
“Honestly, after the first leg defeat we didn’t give up on our target. Although, we knew the difficulties away from home but that challenge spurred us to prove a point that our team performance as Cup champions wasn’t a fluke. We were strong and fought like a team, we work hard and pray.
“I must also commend the coaching crew, coach Maikaba and his technical crew. Maikaba is like a father to us all, he didn’t panic during the difficult moments, and he didn’t blame any individual players. He accepted responsibilities on our behalf and we were able to respond to his tactical plans in Banjul.
“In Banjul, the atmosphere was tense and our opponent had everything in their advantage. We were able to settle down because the management went ahead with an advance party, logistics was sorted and we were able to gather confidence from the enabling environment.
“We have learnt a big lesson and we will be taking those positives lessons to the next round. We won’t repeat such mistakes again, we will avoid unnecessary pressure. This hurdle we crossed successfully has prepared us for the bigger challenges from the next round,” said Olorunleke to Naijafootballplus.com.
Akwa United have been paired against Al-Ittihad of Libya in the second round of the qualifiers next month.