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Africa Cup of Nations

How Nigeria goalkeeper Akpeyi has revitalised his Kaizer Chiefs career

22:58 GMT+4 03/01/2022
Daniel Akpeyi, Kaizer Chiefs, September 2019
The former Chippa United goalkeeper is part of the Super Eagles squad which is set to compete in this month's Afcon finals in Cameroon

It's been to the credit of Kaizer Chiefs and Nigeria international shot-stopper Daniel Akpeyi that he's currently the undisputed Amakhosi number one.

As former Bafana Bafana number one Itumeleng Khune has battled injury, fitness and form issues, the goalkeeping department at Chiefs has for the past couple of seasons been somewhat unstable.

At one point it looked as if Bruce Bvuma was going to make the position his own, but having been given the chance a couple of games into the current campaign, the 35-year-old has taken his opportunity with both hands.

Even the arrival of another keeper, Brandon Petersen, has not unsettled Akpeyi.

Consistency

It has not been the case that Akpeyi has caught the eye with a series spectacular saves - in fact, he's not been called on to make that many saves in the past few months.

That's been down to some solid defending from the Chiefs rearguard, and perhaps also some good organizational skills from Akpeyi.

What has been impressive about the Nigerian is his consistency and his focus. Too often in the past has he mixed some breathtaking stops with some embarrassing blunders and he's never fully convinced at Chiefs for an extended period, until recently.

He's done well to remove the unforced errors, uneeded risks and silly mistakes from his game, and the added reliability has no doubt also rubbed off on the defenders in front of him. When he has conceded, it's been more down to the quality of the finish from the opposition, than any error on Akpeyi's behalf.

More than ever in his Chiefs career, Akpeyi is looking solid, unflustered and in command.

New contract?

The timing of his form has come at a good time in that Akpeyi's current contract runs out in June 2022. His outstanding performances may well see him earning a new contract, which seemed less likely a year ago, and when Petersen was signed ahead of the current season.

His resurgence also comes at a good time in terms of the Nigerian national team and the former Warri Wolves and FC Heartland custodian will be hoping he can force his way into the starting XI at Afcon ahead of Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus), John Noble (Enyimba, Nigeria) and Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands).