Super Eagles goalkeepers’ trainer, Alloy Agu has spoken out in defence of Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa shot-stopper, Daniel Akpeyi, but admits that Nigeria’s first choice at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt still has room for improvements in his performances so far, megasportsarena.com reports.
With many Nigerians now dubbing Akpeyi ‘shaky, shaky keeper,’ due to some errors in Nigeria’s matches so far at AFCON 2019, Agu is quick to point out that the lad has already shown better composure than used to be, and stressed that he should be allowed more time to stabilize.
Akpeyi has already survived a major test to his confidence, having come out with a passable rating in the quarter-final clash against South Africa, who caused him to lose his first choice spot with a 2-00 spanking of Nigeria in Uyo at the start of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers.
Though he plies his trade in The Rainbow Nation, Akpeyi could not hold his own during that match in Uyo, and he subsequently lost his rating to third spot behind Francis Odinaka Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, only to storm back to reckoning heading into AFCON 2019.
It is another spirited fight back for the former Heartland of Owerri and Warri Wolves of Delta State keeper, who shot to prominence with the under-20 national team, Flying Eagles in 2005 but lost his spot soon after to Ambrose Vanzewkin at the World Youth Championship in Holland.
Dramatically, his previous attempt at making a comeback also fell short under the same coach of the Holland 2005 silver winning squad, Samson Yebowei Sisia, as Akpeyi ended up as second choice in the Rio 2016 side that went on to win bronze, as he was placed behind Emmanuel Daniel.
However, Akpeyi is back into the spotlight at Egypt 2019, manning all but one of Nigeria’s matches en route to a semi-final ticket, ahead of which Agu says the shot-stopper needs support not criticism, for him to excel against Algeria on Sunday and help the Eagles reach Friday’s final.
Agu expatiated: ”When we look at what he has done before he has not done badly but there is always room for improvement.
“We are working on it to make sure that Daniel and the other two goalkeepers are on top of their game
“We have been talking and we’ve been working. Confidence is being acquired by your daily routine, by what you do.
”Eventually, the next game you expect him to do better than what he has done before.”