Chiefs have been blowing hot and cold after the Christmas break, with their biggest problem in defence – as they’ve lost four out of seven matches, conceding eight goals.
Virgil Vries, the man entrusted with the duty between the posts in the absence of Itumeleng Khune, hasn’t carried out his task well, making a string of costly blunders.
“If you can’t score, you need a goalkeeper to come through for the team and keep it 0-0, I am not happy with this. What must we say?,” said coach Ernst Middendorp in justification of the supporters’ frustrations.
Shongwe, a former Chiefs goalie, and now club legend, also took a leaf from the coach’s book that the repetition of the same mistakes by the same person in a short space of time needs a serious intervention.
“In the beginning when he made a blunder against Sundowns, I thought this was a once-off. And he bounced back with a clean sheet against Wits. But then, against Cape Town City, “hayi...hayi hayi...”, it’s unforgivable. A goalkeeper is allowed to make one horror per season, but two in big games that he’s played, it’s a big concern,” Shongwe said.
What also doesn’t help the Namibian’s shot-stopper is that the team’s next assignment is at home to arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm). And, according to Shongwe, the platform such as the derby will be is not ideal for the Namibian international to revive his confidence, as it might further the damage.
“I don’t think it would be the best for him (to play in the derby), because there’ll be that mistake working into his mind,” he said. “Personally, I think it’s the time to sideline him, so that he can get a break.”
Instead, Shongwe has backed Akpeyi, who was signed on Thursday from Chippa United, to be thrown in the deep end.
The acquisition of the Nigerian international brings a roller-coaster of emotions as well. He was signed from a club that’s flirting with relegation, while he’s far from being close to Khune’s standards. On the other hand, he brings valuable international experience.
“Akpeyi has been a pillar of strength at Chippa,” Shongwe argued. “He brings all the experience from the international scene. His game also has a chance to shoot up to where we’ve never seen it before. I don’t think there’s a problem (with him) being on board; in fact, I thought it was a great move. I’d say throw him in the deep end.”@MihlaliBaleka