Is Akpeyi worth a Derby look-in?

Soweto Derby editor Tshepang Mailwane believes Akpeyi should sit this one out if he is to make a lasting impression for The Glamour Boys, while Chad Klate argues that he should be thrown in at the deep end.

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Tshepang on why Akpeyi should not start

Ever heard the words “the Soweto Derby can make or break you”? Well, these words are true. And the last thing a goalkeeper like Daniel Akpeyi would want is to make his debut in the Soweto Derby and have a nightmare. First impressions, after all, last. 

While he does have experience of playing for the Nigerian national team, Akpeyi has not always been convincing in his role and has in recent times been put down as the third-choice goalkeeper for his country.

At Chippa he was number one goalkeeper but the Soweto Derby is the biggest PSL fixture on the calendar.

Before joining Chiefs, Akpeyi conceded 21 goals in 18 matches and kept just six clean sheets. Granted, Chippa’s defending was hardly ever organised, but the same can be said about a Chiefs defence that has let in 18 goals in 19 matches.

It’s far too big a game for Amakhosi to take a chance on a goalkeeper who could be nervous on debut.

Chad on why Akpeyi should start

Much has been made of stand-in goalkeeper Virgil Vries’ blunders over the past month, having been largely responsible for Chiefs’ Absa Premiership defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City, after which coach Ernst Middendorp himself grew fed-up.

The massive expectation and pressure that comes with the Soweto Derby may be too heavy a load to bare for Vries, who is already under pressure as is.

Meanwhile, arriving at a new club – more especially one of Chiefs’ magnitude, often brings out the best in players as they possess a distinct eagerness to show their worth, which is the space Akpeyi is now in, and everyone is keen to see whether the Nigerian was a worthy acquisition on transfer deadline day.

He seemed to have a particular liking for matches against Amakhosi while at Chippa, having kept four clean sheets and conceded just three goals in seven appearances. Now that he dons the black and gold himself, Akpeyi may well be inspired to put out a similar display in order to prove his worth as well as shine in front of the ‘Khosi faithful.

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