Daniel Akpeyi: Orlando Pirates must move to sign ex-Kaizer Chiefs stopper

Daniel Akpeyi of Nigeria

Surprisingly, as we enter the final days of the January transfer window, Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi remains a free agent.

He’d be a superb and cost-effective pick-up for a number of PSL sides, but Orlando Pirates absolutely must considering the Super Eagles stopper as they look to solve a problem area in their team.

It wasn’t that long ago that Akpeyi was considered among the finest stoppers in the division.

Now 36, he was nominated for the Goalkeeper of the Season award as recently as 2020, and has demonstrated that he can hold the fort for one of the division’s giants.

A free agent since leaving Kaizer Chiefs, he’s remained fit by training with Swallows FC, although a move to join Ernst Middendorp’s side is unlikely to be on the table.

Swallows are currently under a transfer ban, so even though they could benefit from recruiting Akpeyi, they wouldn’t be able to register him due to the ongoing Fifa ruling.

Richard Ofori of Orlando Pirates.Backpagepix.

Why on earth aren’t Jose Riveiro and Pirates considering Akpeyi?

In Ghana’s Richard Ofori, they do boast an excellent keeper of their own, but the Black Stars stopper has proven—sadly—that he’s injury prone, and it remains to be seen if he can shake off the fitness issues that have affected the last few years of his career.

Ofori missed the 2022 World Cup due to injury, and hasn’t featured for the Buccaneers since early November, and the 1-0 victory over AmaZulu.

They may have won three games on the bounce under Riveiro, but Pirates have only kept one clean sheet in those three outings. Indeed, their shutout against Marumo Gallants this weekend was their first clean sheet in the league since beating Golden Arrows 2-0 in mid-October.

In Ofori’s absence, Sipho Chaine and Siyabonga Mpontshane have swapped duties between the sticks, but neither has truly convinced, and neither are really of the same quality as Akpeyi.

Certainly, neither of the pair have proved themselves to be of the same level as the Nigeria keeper, with each receiving some criticism from supporters in recent weeks.

Bringing in Akpeyi would offer an upgrade on either stopper, and behind the scenes, would provide guidance and competition for both Chaine and Mponthshane.

He has ample experience of the PSL, wouldn’t let Pirates down, and surely is too good to be left kicking his heels during the final 10 matchdays of the South African top flight campaign.

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