Akpeyi Faces Stiff Challenge For Kaizer Debut

What initially appeared as a straight forward surge into the starting line-up of Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa by the club’s new goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi is fast turning out otherwise, as the Super Eagles third choice is facing a stiff challenge in training.

In contrast with reports that Akpeyi would become Amakhosi’s number one, due to injury to  Itumeleng Khune, their preferred choice, and fumbles by the back-up keeper, the situation is dicey heading into this weekend’s derby against Orlando Pirates.

Information on offer from The Rainbow Nation indicates that Chiefs’ coach, Ernst Middendorp is yet to decide whether to pick Akpeyi ahead of the lad he scolded in the past two matches, Virgil Vries.

With the 166th Soweto Derby fast approaching, Middendorp will just have to decide well, as Amakhosi have not beaten The Buccaneers since December 2014.

The odds were initially against Vries, after he made a costly mistake against Mamelodi Sundowns, while he also had to shoulder the blame for Amakhosi’s loss to Cape Town City.

Vries had all along been second choice goalkeeper, but the arrival of Akpeyi from Chippa United during the January transfer window was proof that Middendorp no longer trusts the Namibia international.

Both Vries and Akpeyi have faced Pirates before, but none of them has played in a Soweto Derby before.

While Akpeyi is no longer Nigeria’s number one in goal, Vries has had his fair share of his mistakes in eight matches that he has played.

The scenario has now left Middendorp and goalkeeper coach, Lee Baxter in a quandary, but they must must make a decision on who should start in goal for the Glamour Boys.

A preview by Ernest Makhaya stated in part: “Akpeyi’s readiness for the Soweto Derby could be a huge deciding factor, but for a player to make his club debut in a game as big and significant as this could simply backfire although previous goalkeepers such as Brilliant Khuzwayo and Reyaad Pieterse did well against Pirates.”

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