Another weekend and another world class performance from Daniel Akpeyi who is now undoubtedly Nigeria's best goalkeeper in world football at the moment.
On Sunday, the Afcon bronze medalist made four crucial saves against Mamelodi Sundowns, shutting them out as Kaizer Chiefs secured a dramatic 2-0 win at the Loftus Versfeld.
The goalkeeper recently won a man of the match award and was voted Kaizer Chiefs best player last month.
For the Super Eagles of Nigeria, there is this myth (among many fans) that Akpeyi is a basket that leaks in goals.
Is this substantiated? What has Akpeyi done for the Super Eagles thus far?
– Nigeria has won 10 out of 14 matches which Akpeyi has kept. – Nigeria has not conceded more than 2 goals in any match that Akpeyi has kept. – Nigeria kept clean sheets in the first 2 matches in this Afcon due to some Akpeyi saves. – Akpeyi came to the rescue of Nigeria early in the match against Algeria after Omeruo had fluffed his lines. – Akpeyi did quite well in the Nigeria Professional League and has followed this up with world class performances in South Africa. - Akpeyi has kept 4 clean sheets with nigeria: that is roughly 1 clean sheet per 3 games (rounded up). - Also, he only concede more than 1 goal in 3 Super Eagles matches.
Now, these are objective facts (totally devoid of emotional input).
To then say a goalkeeper of these credentials, is not worthy of keeping for Nigeria, or else is?
The only knock-back for Akpeyi is his lack of style. He looks jittery, ill-composed and not overly assured.
But, that takes nothing (nothing) away from his goalkeeping abilities or enviable records (and recent acclaim in South Africa).
Akpeyi may not have the style, but he sure has the substance (in abundance for that matter).