Akpeyi fires back at critics, targets World Cup

Posted on Feb 23 2018 - 7:10pm by admin

Festus Abu

Super Eagles  goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has said he is not bothered by any criticism  but determined to push for his place in Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr’s 23-man squad for the Russia  2018  World Cup.

The  South Africa-based keeper has been the subject of intense criticism after   his blunders  against South Africa in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier – which Bafana Bafana won 2-0 in Uyo  on  June 10  – and in the friendly game against   Argentina in Russia   November  14 won 4-2 by Nigeria.

Reports claim  Akpeyi’s World Cup  place  could be under threat after Rohr was impressed by  Dele Ajiboye’s  performance at the 2018 African Nations Championship in Morocco.

Ajiboye made some  brave saves to help Nigeria  reach the  CHAN  final after coming on for first choice goalkeeper Ikechukwu  Ezenwa, who was injured in  the semifinal against Sudan.

Rohr is facing goalkeeping crisis  with first choice keeper  Carl Ikeme firmly out of the World Cup  as he is undergoing treatment for acute leukaemia after being diagnosed with the illness in July.

Reports claim Akpeyi does not feature prominently in the German manager’s  World Cup plans as he is said to be  focusing on Ezenwa, Deportivo La Coruna keeper Francis Uzoho and Ajiboye for the World Cup.

However, Akpeyi,  31, insists he  has been working hard for a place in  Rohr’s Russia 2018 squad, saying he is not discouraged by criticsm.

 “I am not competing with any goalkeeper in the team,” the Chippa United custodian was quoted by scorenigeria.com as saying on Thursday.

 “I am grateful to the coach for inviting me and also giving me an opportunity to play.

“Nigeria have good keepers waiting for this opportunity; if anyone deserves it let him play and let’s support him so that we can have a formidable team for the World Cup and come back with a good result.”

The former Warri Wolves keeper said  he would not criticise any player  in a bid to make the trip to Russia.

He said, “You don’t have talk me down with stories or lie against me on the pages of newspapers because you need to promote someone.

“I didn’t come this far in my career by a mistake, even though I wasn’t given a chance to get here. But I was positive about myself and I worked hard for it and with God’s grace I reached the level I am today.

“I haven’t reached my mark yet. Yes, I made some mistakes; some of the world’s best goalkeepers have made worst slip-ups, but they didn’t quit because they were criticised and condemned, they fought through it to become the best they are today.  I will keep fighting.”

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

(Visited 746 times, 56 visits today)

Leave A Response