Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp: 'Daniel Akpeyi will be the No.1 for the rest of the season'

Daniel Akpeyi has managed to win the number one jersey from captain Itumeleng Khune.
Daniel Akpeyi has managed to win the number one jersey from captain Itumeleng Khune.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Daniel Akpeyi will be the No.1 goalkeeper at Kaizer Chiefs "for the rest of the season"‚ coach Ernst Middendorp has pronounced in a bold statement that signals Itumeleng Khune will not be seen in league leaders Amakhosi's remaining matches barring injuries.

Earlier in the return to football in the bio-bubble Middendorp had said Khune was not even on the bench‚ with Bruce Bvuma chosen in the match-day squads as Nigeria No.1 Akpeyi's deputy‚ because the Bafana Bafana veteran had "missed trainings" due to "challenges".

Chiefs' coach did not specify what those challenges were.

Akpeyi has conceded six goals in three games since the restart‚ and Chiefs have battled to ram home opportunities to open a more commanding lead than their current five points over flat second-placed defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns‚ who have a game in hand.

This has raised questions again on Khune's continued absence.

Asked ahead of Chiefs meeting tough Stellenbsoch FC at Orlando Stadium on Sunday (kickoff 6pm) about the status of his other goalkeepers‚ Middendorp would only say: "Daniel Akpeyi is the No. 1 the entire season‚ and Daniel Akpeyi will be the No. 1 for the rest of the season."

Middendorp was asked about Chiefs conceding six goals in three games - a 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits‚ 3-2 win against Polokwane City and Wednesday night's 3-1 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic.

"This is definitely something to highlight‚ something that annoys me a little bit - we concede goals in critical phases; meaning at the end of a first half‚ in the 45th minute‚" the coach said.

"The game against Bloemfontein‚ lack of concentration‚ lack of being focused. I was asking for a fully sharp focus for 90 minutes.

"Coming out of the dressing room we concede the second goal in the 47th minute.

"Playing Bidvest Wits we concede in the 89th minute. These are all critical phases where you ask yourself‚ 'What's happening?' Keep the focus‚ keep the concentration.

"But it happens. And it's definitely something to be addressed‚ and that's what we are doing."

Chiefs have 52 points from 25 games.

Sundowns‚ who meet 10th-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows at Dobsonville Stadium on Monday‚ have 47 points from 25 matches.

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