Kaizer Chiefs can't blame Akpeyi for struggles but still need a central defender - Mayo

Daniel Akpeyi, Kaizer Chiefs, September 2019
The former Amakhosi player looks at the game against the Clever Boys, saying the Super Eagles keeper is still the best option in goal

Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Patrick Mayo believes his old club are under pressure and desperate for points but they can't blame goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi for their loss against Mamelodi Sundowns earlier in the week.

The retired defender and hitman, however, hopes the clash against Bidvest Wits in their 28th Premier Soccer League (PSL) clash on Sunday afternoon will allow Chiefs to fix their problems at the back.

On the other hand, the absence of Bafana Bafana number Itumeleng Khune has left many calling for the axing of the Nigerian, who has conceded eight goals in their past five matches, and Mayo believes the goal they conceded against Mamelodi Sundowns could have been avoided.

“Firstly, I cannot blame Akpeyi for their struggles because they don’t have a centre-back that will marshal that defence,” Mayo told Goal.

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“So, if the defence is leaking that means the goalkeeper will eventually concede because he is the last line of defence. He saves them is so many games and he can’t always be a saviour, he will save them up to a certain extent.

“I won’t blame Akpeyi and even if they can have Khune for the remaining three matches, if Chiefs is meant to lose, we are going to lose.  

“For instance, this goal sored by [Gaston] Sirino. How come do your centre-backs push at the same time? I think they needed someone that will press, [Erick] Mathoho was right to press but [Daniel] Cardoso should have stayed.

“The back heel by [Themba] Zwane allowed Sirino to have a clear sight at the goal and with Akpeyi forced to come out, it was easy to score that goal.

“I think Cardoso could have cleared the ball had he stayed behind and wait for the pass. It was too late for him to clear to tackle Sirino. In my opinion, Chiefs need a centre back that will marshal the last line of defence.”

Since the resumption of football, Ernst Middendorp’s men have only registered a single win over Polokwane City, bagged two draws against the Clever Boys and Stellenbosch but succumbed to as many defeats at the hands of Bloemfontein Celtic and Masandawana.

With that in mind, Mayo believes the Soweto giants are starting to feel the pressure.

“Chiefs are under pressure, nobody expected the results especially the loss to Celtic. I think that’s where things started to fall apart,” he added.

“That 3-1 loss really made things a bit difficult for the club and they will need to be very strong to come back.”

Moreover, the Port Elizabeth-based legend is of the view that the log leaders will benefit from Samir Nurkovic's return at FNB Stadium.

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“It’s going to be a tough game for both teams, Wits is gaining momentum and it’s a challenge for Chiefs because they are desperate for the maximum points,” Mayo continued.

“One would say it’s not the right time for Chiefs to meet Wits because they are fresh from a 1-0 defeat to Sundowns and I just hope they will wake up after that loss.

“[Samir] Nurkovic’s absence definitely had an effect on their loss to Sundowns, that was a big game where you needed all your in-form or best players when it comes to experience.”