Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has hit back at the media criticism he's received and denied he needed extra protection against Bafana Bafana after advancing to the semifinal of AFCON 2019.
Akpeyi, 31, received widespread criticism for his erratic perfromances for the Super Eagles ahead of AFCON 2019 but has been shown faith by head coach Gernot Rohr with four starts out of five games - while keeping two clean sheets.
And after their 2-1 win over South Africa in the quarter-final of the continental showpiece at the Cairo International Stadium he opened up about his detractors before denying he offered the Super Eagles intel of the players he's faced up against over the past four years in the Absa Premiership.
"It's expected, it's part of things, it's up for us as professionals to take it as a stone and use at as a stepping stone," Akpeyi said. "We watched Bafana Bafana, like I'm sure they watched us so I didn't get to give my teammates any tips, they already know the players.
"Trust me, I think we have the better team, no matter what happened in the game, without disrespect of taking anything away from Bafana Bafana, we are the better team.
"We also prepared for the worst, there's nothing really special I told the team, we just watched videos, watched players and capitalised on the weak points."
On the debate whether he should be the Super Eagles number one goalkeeper ahead of Francis Uzoho, the Amakhosi stopper was quite frank is his response.
"Am I really struggling for a number one jersey? I don't think so, I'm only playing to get an opportunity to play every game which im grateful of from Gernot Rohr - against all odds against all the media trying to pull me down he's given me the chance.
"So I'm not looking for a number one, I'm just looking at opportunities to play."
Akpeyi concluded with a message to his club teammates: "Well it's sad that they have to lose, we needed it more, trust me, they've done so well, I must give them credit.
"Nobody gave them a chance in the beginning either after losing those group games but they fought.
"And the good thing is that they were part of the team, which means they are doing well in the team and Kaizer Chiefs are generally doing well if they have players in Bafana Bafana, it shows they are doing very well."