Super Eagles number 1 goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has been in the news recently claiming he overheard a certain national team colleague saying he will never be invited to the Super Eagles again on the back of the mistake he made in the friendly match against Argentina in November 2017.
That has re-ignited debate among Super Eagles fans as to whether Daniel Akpeyi has been useful or useless in Super Eagles colours.
Some fans believe he leaks goals for the Super Eagles (calling him a basket) while others believe he has been decent.
I can say it authoritatively that Akpeyi's record as Super Eagles goalkeeper stands up to scrutiny and compares much favourably with other Super Eagles goalkeepers.
Let's examine this in more detail:
Out of 18 national team games since 2016, Akpeyi's *contributions* have helped the Super Eagles produce 11 victories and 3 draws ( which equates to 78% positive outcome for Nigeria with Akpeyi in goal). *Note: I use the word 'contributions' in the sentence above because football is a team sport: defenders, attackers, midfielders and coaches all play their part.*
Throughout Akpeyi's Super Eagles career from 2016 to date, he has NEVER conceded more than 2 goals in any match for the Nigeria. So, this perception of him being a basket is gravely misplaced.
Akpeyi has managed 5 clean sheets in 18 games for Nigeria (which roughly translated to 1 clean sheet per 3 games which is impressive by any standards)
Now, as a standalone set of statistics, Akpeyi's record for the Super Eagles is very impressive indeed. Yes, his demeanour and looks neither command respect not inspire confidence.
However this has sadly created a mental blockage in the minds of many fans which will always compromise clarity in their efforts to objectively assess the 'pure goalkeeping competencies' of Daniel Akpeyi.
Has there been some comical moments? You betcha! But if I can be paid 1 Naira for every time a world class goalkeeper makes comical blunders, I will be a millionaire by now.
Perhaps Akpeyi says it best when he said recently:“Imagine that a week later (after the Afcon semi finals match) , Mahrez scored a similar goal in the English Premer League (against highly a rated goalkeeper) and the world did not come down.
But because it is Akpeyi, it was very easy for the bell to ring in people’s mind that Akpeyi is this, Akpeyi is that.” End of quote.
Sadly, that bell will always ring in minds distorted by a blockage brought about by their misconception of Akpeyi based on his demeanour and looks (and comical moments which every goalkeeper is guilty of).