There can be only one number one and his name is Khune - says Akpeyi
JOHANNESBURG – Daniel Akpeyi, who was signed by Kaizer Chiefs as a makeshift goalkeeper earlier this year, admits that Itumeleng Khune’s rich history with the club will always make him the first-choice keeper.
During the January transfer window, Akpeyi was signed from Chippa United, following a crisis in the goalkeeping department, as Virgil Vries and then inexperienced Bruce Bvuma failed to fill the gap left by then injured captain Khune. While Vries further fell down the pecking order - before he was subsequently released in June - Akpeyi and Bruce continued to share the goalkeeping duties.
However, with Khune back at training and said to be almost available for selection, Akpeyi appears to have accepted that it may take another unfortunate situation before putting on the famous black and gold jersey of the club again.
“Sometimes this game can be tricky but when you have someone who understands the dynamics of this game, who understands how things run (it’s better). I am in a team where I will not be playing 100 percent of games,” Akpeyi said. “That should be understood because there is no way that I can push Khune aside no matter if he is on form or not, he has this background that it would be difficult for you to push him out, I am just being honest about it.”
Akpeyi’s lack of confidence is due to the club’s angry supporters who are frustrated over the team’s failure to win a trophy over the last four seasons.
Despite football being a team sport, Akpeyi is well aware of the criticism he may go through following a bad day between the sticks, while Khune may likely take an exception due to his heroics in the past.
“But sometimes you have the feeling that you won’t have game time and things won’t happen the way you want. You need to understand the way you find yourself and you need to adjust and keep working,” he said.
“I am not taking anything away from Khune. He has been a hero for the team. I am not here to compete with him. I am only hoping that I will get as much game time as I wish and not be parked forever on the bench.”
Akpeyi admits that it will take a lot of hard work before he can dethrone Khune for the No 1 jersey, but at the same time he uses the criticism as a fuel that drives him to be one of the best. With Khune not fit to play just yet, Akpeyi will be hoping to keep his second clean sheet of the season if he gets the nods against SuperSport United at FNB Stadium tomorrow.@Mihlalibaleka