Daniel Akpeyi will start for Kaizer Chiefs against Highlands‚ says coach Ernst Middendorp
Daniel Akpeyi needs to show the mental toughness to not allow his goalkeeping error in Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-1 Absa Premiership draw against Polokwane City to get him down‚ Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp has said.
Middendorp said he believes the 32-year-old Nigeria international has the experience to be able to bounce back when sixth-placed Amakhosi meet ninth-positioned Highlands Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday (kickoff 6pm).
The coach admitted‚ though‚ that there is some concern for Chiefs after the keeper they have brought in to solidify a department that has been shaky since the injury to No 1 Itumeleng Khune made a costly mistake in just his second game.
Akpeyi was signed from Chippa United on the last day of the transfer window on January 31‚ after Virgil Vries had clearly struggled deputising for injured Khune‚ with notable howlers in defeats against Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City.
Against Polokwane on Saturday‚ after Daniel Cardoso’s penalty put Chiefs ahead in the 15th minute‚ Akpeyi allowed winger Walter Musona’s bouncing shot in under his body in the 21st.
“I only hope that he has the right mentality to bounce back‚ and not getting any effects by it‚” Middendorp said on Thursday.
“That’s a very clear understanding‚ and that is what you expect from it.
“You expect that there will be the possibility to make a mistake. That’s normal – that’s nothing unusual.
“That was my first approach with Virgil Vries too‚ where I said‚ ‘Absolutely‚ that can happen. Nothing wrong with it’.
“And then in the next games‚ one or two were good‚ and then we have seen that against Cape Town City you have another [keeping error]. And that should not happen.
“And that’s where I came to the conclusion that that’s difficult to accept.
“But at the moment [for Akpeyi] it’s OK. It happens. We must accept it in the moment.
“And OK‚ he will play‚ he will start. And I hope he’s mentally strong enough.
“It looks that way to me‚ and I am quite convinced that he knows that he has to do it in a proper way.”
Chiefs need a win against Highlands to restore their top four ambitions. Owen Da Gama’s compact‚ physical Park are pushing for a place in the top eight.
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