Kaizer Chiefs keeper Akpeyi dedicates award to himself because he has no supporters

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Daniel Akpeyi, Kaizer Chiefs, February 2019
Akpeyi was at his best against Baroka on Saturday night as he produced a series of good saves to justify his place in Middendorp's team

Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has hit back at Kaizer Chiefs supporters who have been on his back since his arrival at the club.

Recently, calls for Akpeyi to be relegated to the bench intensified following Itumeleng Khune's return from a long-term shoulder injury, but Ernst Middendorp stuck to his guns and continued to play the former Chippa United shot-stopper. 

Akpeyi had to come on in the first half of Amakhosi's 1-0 win over Baroka on Saturday as Khune was forced to be substituted with a suspected groin injury, and the Super Eagles goalkeeper produced a series of great saves to keep the team in the game. 

Akpeyi was voted the best player on the night, and he used the opportunity upon receiving his Man of the Match award to respond to his critics.    

"I want to dedicate this [award] to myself because that's the only true supporter I have," Akpeyi told SuperSport TV

"I have been thrown sh*t at but there's only one person that keeps me standing."  

"Like coach Lee [Baxter] always say, 'You have to prepare for every game whether you on the bench or not, you have to prepare for it'. So, I actually prepare for every game and when Itu [Khune] was going through what he was going through on the field, I made up my mind that I'm going to come inside and let it be like nothing happened'; that is the confidence I came into the field with," he said.

"And I also want to say to the players who fought tooth and nail throughout... they deserve an award as well and to God be the glory."

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The lanky goalkeeper has stated he aims to use whatever is thrown at him as a stepping stone to get to the next level. 

"I’m a big goalkeeper. No matter [what] is being thrown at me I just have to take it and use it as a stepping stone to get to the next level - that’s the confidence I came into the field with. So, my teammates, who were actually encouraging me when I was entering the field it’s because they have confidence in me as well," he added.

"So, I think the result works generally well for the team and thankfully we have the three points to stay on top."