Wednesday Feb 19, 2020. 17:00
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp backs Daniel Akpeyi to the hilt.
The German mentor came out in defence of the 33-year-old at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference in Naturena, ahead of their Nedbank Cup fixture versus Highlands Park on Saturday.
This after questions were raised about the Nigeria international following this past weekend’s 2-1 loss at home to Maritzburg United, in which the shot-stopper made a crucial error as the Amakhosi duly saw their lead atop the Absa Premiership standings cut to six points.
Middendorp, though, has reiterated his trust in the September/October Player of the Month and hinted that he will remain between the sticks for league matches despite Itumeleng Khune’s return to fitness.
“For us, the indication about who’s playing or how we make the decision is from what is happening here on the [training] field,” Middendorp is quoted as saying by Times Live.
“How the guys are performing. We discuss it every morning, day in, day out, at 8am in our meeting.
“We started the Nedbank Cup with Itu Khune at goalkeeper against Royal Eagles. We go to the next round – we did it last year with Bruce Bvuma in the Nedbank Cup, and we are doing it now – and that’s the decision that on Saturday we will play Itu Khune. And nothing else.
“And let me make one statement. Our supporters at Kaizer Chiefs are very intelligent, very smart. They do not get carried away, just because there was a little mistake and we conceded from our defensive work.
“We have seen a fantastic Daniel Akpeyi over months, rescuing us in the final stage, saving a penalty.
“He was a player of the month [for September/October]. And what we have seen now over several months – please guys, everybody who observes Kaizer Chiefs and is following us know exactly what a goalkeeper like Daniel Akpeyi has done here during the run of the season.
“And there is no way in this moment for me, for us, for each and every person in this Chiefs family, to be ignoring it,” he concluded.
Akpeyi has kept eight clean sheets in 17 league games for the Amakhosi this season.