Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Akpokona Sets Continental Target At Wolves

Newly-appointed Warri Wolves’ head coach, Lawrence Akpokona, has given himself a target of qualifying the Premier League side for one of the continental club competitions when the campaign rounds off next season.
“I know why I am here (at Warri Wolves),” began Akpokona. “When I was contacted to take the job, I was told that it was because of my antecedents at Rangers where I ensured that they qualified for the continent almost of the season when I was there.”
Akpokona, who was diplomatically relieved of his duty at Ocean Boys before the close of last season when the management of the side slammed an indefinite suspension on him, believes that the fourth place finish of Warri Wolves in the last campaign is a challenge to him.
He recognises that he would have to surpass the achievement of his predecessor by finishing in the top three.
“The past coaching crew has done a good job. They led the team to finish fourth in the league last season and they have left me with a huge task now. I must do better than they have done in the last season to justify my appointment,” he said.
Asked if he is under pressure to improve the feat of last season, Akpokona told our correspondent that he is comfortable with the job he has taken and knows that Warri Wolves has a good team that can compete with the big sides in the Premier League.
He did not want to go into his plans for the pre-season, as he is yet to meet with the players.
“I cannot talk about plans for the pre-season yet. Though I know that the Delta State government is planning to send the team out of the country on a playing tour from what I have been told. That is good and that is where I will start to know the players and their abilities. For now, I cannot say much until they resume for camping ahead of the new season.
“Though my predecessor did a good job by finishing fourth, I am in no way under pressure because Warri Wolves have some of the best players in the league and I know that with the kind of players we have we will compete with the big teams. Last season, most of the big clubs found it hard to play against Warri Wolves judging from the results and I believe that we can improve from there,” he said.
In spite of the management of Warri Wolves failing to reveal the package of the deal with Akpokona, it was learnt that the coach signed a one-year contract, which runs out after the 2009/2010 season.

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