Daniel Akpeyi: What does the future hold?

Daniel Akpeyi, GOALGOAL
  • Daniel Akpeyi of Kaizer Chiefs October 2019Backpagepix

    Disheartening campaign

    Daniel Akpeyi came into the recent season hoping to re-establish himself as Kaizer Chiefs and Nigeria's number one goalkeeper having endured a disappointing 2020-21 campaign. However, the arrival of Brandon Peterson at Chiefs made the competition for the number one shirt at the club a bit stiffer. The Nigeria international found game time hard to come by once again, making few appearances as Amakhosi endured a dissatisfying campaign in which they interchanged their goalkeepers.

    The Soweto giants were booted out of the MTN8 in the round before the team endured a PSL campaign in which they were inconsistent as they rotated their keepers, Akpeyi, Peterson, Bruce Bvuma as well as Itumeleng Khune. Chiefs never looked like serious PSL title contenders and they ultimately finished fifth on the league standings having been eliminated from the Nedbank Cup in the first round. Akpeyi parted ways with the Soweto giants end of the season as he ended his three-year spell with the Soweto giants.  

  • Daniel Akpeyi Kaizer Chiefs October 27

    The story of last season

    Affectionately known as Nomarussia (for having been the only PSL player who was selected for the 2018 Fifa World Cup finals in Russia) to the Chiefs fans, Akpeyi was an unused substitute as the Glamour Boys overcame their arch-rivals, Orlando Pirates on penalties in a high-profile pre-season friendly match with Khune and Peterson featuring between the sticks. Nomarussia then watched from the stands as the Soweto giants began their campaign with a defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 on penalties following a 2-2 draw. 

    The experienced shot-stopper was handed his first appearance of the season against Marumo Gallants in September last year and he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. Akpeyi then became Amakhosi's first choice keeper for the next three months as the Glamour Boys blew hot and cold with Normarussia rarely keeping clean sheets. However, then-Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter kept his faith in the former Chippa United keeper until the year 2021 came to an end. The nomadic player received regular Super Eagles call-ups throughout the campaign, but he was always an unused substitute. 

    However, things changed for Akpeyi as he was relegated to the bench when the campaign resumed after a mid-season break with Peterson and Bvuma being Baxter's preferred keepers. Even after the British tactician's departure in April this year, Nomarussia saw game time hard to come by with then-interim coach Arthur Zwane opting for Bvuma as his number one keeper. Akpeyi ended the season with five clean sheets from 12 matches and he was released by the Soweto giants after the club deciding not to renew his contract which expired on Thursday.

  • Daniel Akpeyi, Kaizer Chiefs, January 2021Backpagepix

    Any transfer rumours?

    Unsurprisingly, Akpeyi has not been short of admirers after leaving Chiefs where he was once considered among the best keepers in the country while also being Nigeria's first-choice keeper. Soon after the Nnewi-born star had been released by the Glamour Boys, his agent Mohammed Lawal has disclosed that several PSL clubs are interested in his services. Lawal also revealed that they had also received offers from overseas clubs, but staying in South Africa is the player's first option.

    Akpeyi, who has been plying his trade in South Africa since 2015 when he joined Chippa from Nigerian side Warri Wolves, is to be believed on the radar of PSL clubs Sekhukhune United and Royal AM. Sekhukhune released experienced keeper Tapuwa Kapini and the Babina Noko are believed to have earmarked Akpeyi as the Zimbabwean shot-stopper's replacement at the club. Furthermore, Nomarussia has been linked with Chippa who are under the guidance of his former teammate Kurt Lentjies.

    Furthermore, the former Gabros International academy and first-team player has been linked with Orlando Pirates. The Buccaneers recently released keepers Wayne Sandilands and Elson Sithole, and they are known to be shopping for a new keeper. A move to Pirates would raise a few eyebrows as Bucs are Chiefs' biggest rivals and Nomarussia has enjoyed some victories against the Buccaneers as Amakhosi's hero and being loved by the club's fans. With the local transfer window having opened on Friday, Akpeyi will surely find a new home by the time the new PSL season starts next month.

  • Daniel Akpeyi of Nigeria

    One big fear for 2022/23

    The one mistake that Akpeyi can make at this stage of his career is to join a club which doesn't guarantee him game time as he looks to regain Nigeria's number one shirt. Nomarussia was deprived of game time towards the end of his three-year spell with Naturena-based giants and he knows that he cannot afford to sit on the bench at his future club if he is to dethrone Maduka Okoye as the Super Eagles' number one keeper.

  • Daniel Akpeyi, Kaizer Chiefs, October 2020Backpagepix

    One big hope for 2022/23

    Stay injury-free. Injuries also contributed to the former Heartland star losing Chiefs' number one shirt as it gave other keepers to regain their spot in the starting line-up. So, if Akpeyi stays injury-free, he will stand a good chance of cementing his place in the team and try to rediscover the form which saw him being nominated for the 2019-20 PSL Goalkeeper of the Season award.

  • Daniel AkpeyiBackpagepix

    GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23

    Whichever PSL club Akpeyi joins he will be a strong contender for the number one shirt due to his qualities as a keeper. An experienced towering shot-stopper, who is brave, agile and physically, Nomarussia can enjoy a successful season if he stays injury-free at his new club.