Chippa United goalie's dream of competing in the World Cup still alive

Daniel Akpeyi of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership match between Chippa United and Ajax Cape Town at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on April 15, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Daniel Akpeyi of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership match between Chippa United and Ajax Cape Town at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on April 15, 2018 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Image: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

Daniel Akpeyi’s dream of competing in the World Cup is still alive even though the Chippa United goalkeeper has slipped down the pecking order in the Nigerian team.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has named his initial squad of 30 Super Eagles for the World Cup with four goalkeepers‚ giving Akpeyi a strong chance to make the trip to Russia.

Akpeyi was the first choice at the start of the qualifying campaign but injury last year opened the door for Enyimba’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa to take his place for the high-profile games at the end of the qualifying competition.

Ezenwa has since been usurped by teenager Francis Uzoho‚ who made his La Liga debut for Deportivo la Coruna this season and is being hailed as an exciting find for African football.

Akpeyi is now down to third in the pecking order and was not on the bench for the last two friendlies against Poland and Serbia in March.

His last cap was one half of the shock 4-2 win over Argentina in Krasnodar‚ Russia last November.

All squad members must report to a training camp that starts in Uyo on Monday.

To prepare for the tournament in Russia‚ Nigeria play the Democratic Republic of Congo in Abuja on May 28‚ then England at Wembley on June 2 and the Czech Republic in neutral Vienne on June 2 before they head to Russia where they meet Croatia‚ Iceland and Argentina in Group D.

The 31-year-old Akpeyi went as an overage player to the Olympics with Nigeria two years ago and won a bronze medal.

X