Chiefs shotstopper decision: Keeping it real in the Soweto derby
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mso-ansi-language:EN-ZA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">– Soweto derby time is upon us and the week building up to an Orlando Pirates versus Kaizer Chiefs match is never short of discussion points.
One of these has to do with which goalkeeper between Daniel Akpeyi and Itumeleng Khune coach Ernst Middendorp will use as he seeks to extend Amakhosi’s lead at the top of the ABSA Premiership table.
IOL Sport's Minenhle Mkhize got former Chiefs and Pirates goalkeepers William Shongwe and Rowen Fernandez to analyse the two.
Khune v Akpeyi:
Fernandez: Khune has been playing cup games and Daniel has been the preferred candidate for league matches. They are both capable and have done well. At the end of the day, it is coach Middendorp and Lee Baxter that will make the decision. I won’t put my head on the block. It is a very difficult one.
Shongwe: I’ve always said that Akpeyi should play so long as Chiefs were winning. Many keepers make the kind of mistake he made against Maritzburg and continue playing but he had been under pressure before that and it was not surprising Khune was brought in. And while Chiefs lost that Nedbank Cup match (against Highlands Park), Khune had a very good game. He is for me the form player although with him it is never about form because he could be out for a long time but still produce the goods upon returning to action.
Which goalkeeper - Daniel Akpeyi or Itumeleng Khune will coach Ernst Middendorp use this weekend? Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Fernandez: They are both more experienced and obviously Khune has played more derbies than Daniel. Daniel was unbelievable in the first half of the season. The coach will decide but whoever gets the nod will be able to do the job. These are two well experienced and capable goalkeepers.
Shongwe: Akpeyi has done extremely well for Chiefs this season but I would not expose him to further ridicule in this derby. Khune wins this one hands down and he brings with him that aura which will work on Pirates’ psyche because they know how great he can be in this match.
Which goalkeeper - Daniel Akpeyi or Itumeleng Khune will coach Ernst Middendorp use this weekend? Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Fernandez: Khune is very good with his ball distribution and Daniel is a good shot-stopper. Khune is more vocal. He is the leader of the team. Ernst has a good headache because these are two classy keepers who bring different dimensions to the party.
Shongwe: Akpeyi is not so quick on his feet and that was the reason he could not get to that ball against Maritzburg. But he is a great shot-stopper. Khune is a lot better when it comes to commanding his area and he takes charge of the defence superbly.
Fernandez: In terms of big match temperament, they are equal. They have played in major tournaments for their clubs and national teams and have been involved in these situations. Daniel has saved some crucial penalties and Khune has done it for years for Chiefs in difficult situations.
Shongwe: This is going to be a big factor on Saturday and Khune wins it 10-4. Whatever you can think of that you need from a goalkeeper when it comes to big occasions, Khune has to be your go to man.