night was a moment of disappointment and disbelief for players and fans of
Hawks FC following their shocking 2-0 loss to Akwa United of Nigeria in the
second leg of the first round of qualifiers to the CAF Confederation Cup.
Fans travelled to the Independence Stadium with the hope of watching Hawks complete the work they started in Uyo after a 2-1 away win in the first leg.
Ahead of the encounter, Hawks were on the advantage side with their away win and needed to prevent the visitors from scoring but Akwa knew what they wanted as they ran amok and their approach of the game sent a warning to the hosts. The Nigerian side needed to score two clear goals without any reply from Hawks and they did just that. Hawks won a spot to the qualifiers after winning The Gambia FF Cup against Real De Banjul.
Coach Ansu Fatty was quite hopeful that his charges would have been the first Gambian team to reach the group stage of the competition.
Founded in 1973 by Alhaji Ousainou Njie, Hawks is one of the oldest Gambian football teams and currently plays in the country’s first division league.
The first half of the game produced fewer chances but Akwa could have taken the lead in the 21st minute as the Guinean match referee Ousman Jacob Camara awarded a penalty after Hawks’ Solomon Jarju handed the ball in the 18-yard box. But Dennis Nya missed the penalty, much to the disappointment of the Akwa technical bench and Gambia-based Nigerians who went to the stadium to cheer their countrymen.
In the 36th minute of the game, Hawks’ Omar Sarr had a clear chance from Alfusainey Gassama’s brilliant pass but he sent the ball the wrong way.
Seven minutes before end of the first half, the “Promise Keepers” Cyril Olisema finally broke the deadlock after a poor communication between defender Mass Manga and goalie Adama Gassama.
Resuming from the break, Akwa’s man of the match Cyril Olisema was on target again after he beat the out-of-positioned Hawks net-minder Adama Gassama to give his side a renewed hope of making it to the next stage of the qualifiers.
Both gaffers Ansu Fatty and Abdoul Maikaba made few changes to their starting line-ups to boost their sides. With time running out for the hosts and Akwa on the brink of eliminating Hawks, frustration began to develop among fans that could not come to terms because Hawks was losing at home despite the away victory.
Hawks will now give their back to the CAF competition and turn their attention to the domestic league. Akwa United returned to Uyo proud with a 3-2 aggregate win and will face Libyan side Al Ittihad in the next stage of the qualifiers.