Daniel Akpeyi goes from strength to strength

Mohammed Lawal, the agent of Super Eagles enigmatic goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has confimed interest in his client from clubs in Europe and Asia.

When questioned on the matter recently, Lawal reportedly said: "Yes, there is interest in the services of Daniel.

I won’t give you the names of the clubs. There’s interest from Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."

Quite clearly one of the best Africa-based African goalkeepers out there, it will appear that Akpeyi is less appreciated by his own people than by foreigners. Good on him that his sterling performances have attracted interest from clubs outside the shores of Africa. I remember the way Akpeyi ran out to narrow the angle and make the Algerian attacker rush his shot only be smothered for what would have been their first goal earlier in the 2019 Afcon semi finals match – this, after Omeruo had mistimed his kick and left the strikers racing through on goal. It was a display of deft skills from the South African based goalkeeper. It seems we Super Eagles fans are the unforgiving type. For all the deluge of criticisms that has come Akpeyi’s way, one would be forgiven to think that he regularly flops in Super Eagles colours. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ask the detractors for when Akpeyi fumbled for Nigeria and they will be quick to point at his faux pas against Argentina. Yes, that one: when Akpeyi erroneously dropped the ball in quite comical fashion, bizarrely thinking that Aguerro was in a offside position. It was double whammy for the funny-face looking goalie as he conceded a freekick and conceded a goal from it. Although Akpeyi was looking rather bemused throughout that episode (as Awaziem tried – in what proved to be an exercise in futility – to plead his beleaguered Nigerian brother’s case), that look wasn’t far removed from how he normally looks anyway. Forever seeming to look dazed, confused, disorientated or clueless, Super Eagles fans have come to wrongly associate Akpeyi's perceived looks with his goalkeeper capabilities. What a mistake to make! Mercifully, Coach Ernst Middendorp of Kaizer Chiefs and successive coaches of the Super Eagles of Nigeria know better. They know that what makes a quality goalkeeper transcends mere looks and the odd mistakes here and there. You only have to watch David Da Gea of Manchester United to know that Akpeyi is good company when it comes to conjuring performances more suited for comic relief rather than the football pitch. Akpeyi’s qualities have never been in doubt. From stellar performances in the Nigeria Professional Football League to smashing saves that drew critical acclaim in the South African league, the 32 year old Olympic bronze medallist continues to grow from strength to strength. And if this move to Belgium does materialise, then we ain’t seen nothing yet!


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