After the exhilaration and joy of having been named man of the match as Chiefs defeated their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates last weekend, Daniel Akpeyi whose heroics were key to helping Chiefs win the Soweto Derby has now turned his attention to Chiefs’ next Absa Premiership assignment against AmaZulu. The game will take place on Saturday evening at 20:15 at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
Akpeyi believes that Chiefs have now moved on from their Derby triumph and are fully focused on putting together a run of league wins, which will help them consolidate their position at the top of the table.
The Chiefs net minder’s preparations for this game have been as intense as for any other because both teams need the win.
“We are expecting a tough game,” he admits. “They will be looking to climb up the table from their current position. On the other hand, we want to stay where we are in terms of our position. It is not a game where you can think it is going to be a walkover. Mentally and physically, you have to be ready because both teams need the points.”
While Akpeyi may have received the plaudits for Chiefs’ victory over Pirates, he has remained grounded. He is instead putting down this and others’ successes to the hard work that the whole team has put in over the course of the season.
“The truth of the matter is that we keep working everyday to ensure that the best of us comes out. Credit to the goalkeeper coach, Lee Baxter and the entire department because we push each other to be the best. It is a team contribution. We have supported each other well and fortunately this support has helped me to put in the performance that helped the team win. I am happy with these types of performances, but this is what is expected of us at this crucial point in the season,” he says.
The Nigerian international has done well for Chiefs this season having kept 8 clean-sheets in the 18 league games that he has featured in. Another one will be welcomed, but again he is of the view that keeping a clean-sheet is a team effort.
“Keeping a clean-sheet is not about the goalkeeper – it is about the entire team. When we defend well, we end up not conceding – that puts the goalkeeper in a better space. We need to keep this momentum going. I am happy the clean-sheets are increasing and when I get the opportunity to play, I hope to keep another clean-sheet,” he adds.
While he continues to impress at club level Akpeyi will also be looking forward to helping Nigeria continue with their quest to qualify for the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. He looks forward to joining the Super Eagles team for their upcoming Group L qualifiers home and away against Sierra Leone later this month.