ROHR: AKPEYI HAS DONE ENOUGH TO BE NUMBER ONE
The Kaizer Chief shot-stopper showed signs of nervousness despite pulling out some good saves
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
One of the big talking points from the Super Eagles’ 1:0 win over Burundi last Saturday was the performance of goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi. The Kaizer Chief shot-stopper showed signs of nervousness despite pulling out some good saves to keep Nigeria’s clean sheet. The social media space –comments on Nigeria Info FM’s Facebook and Twitter handles - after the game was awash with many fans calling for Coach Gernot Rohr to drop the Eagles keeper.
But the German coach believes Akpeyi “did well,” even if he admits he still has “a big decision to take” as it concerns who starts Nigeria’s second group game against Guinea on Wednesday.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the game, Rohr explained that he chose Akpeyi because he did well in training ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
“What happened is Akpeyi played the first match because in the three weeks of preparation he became number one,” Rohr said.
“Akpeyi started like the number one because Ezenwa had an injury in the first training in Asaba. Then Akpeyi played the Friendly games. He did well and there was no reason to change.”
While many may not agree judging by comments from callers on Nigeria Info FM over the last few days, Rohr believes Akpeyi did enough and “still has good argument to maintain the number one”.
Rohr added: “I think that Daniel Akpeyi with the clean sheet in the first match kept us in the match with very difficult balls he stopped.”
However, the Super Eagles manager was quick to admit that he now has a selection headache with the return to fitness of Katsina United keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
“Now Ezenwa is coming back and there is real competition,” Rohr said. “So for the game for tomorrow (Wednesday), we will have a big decision to take which one to start the game.”
In a related development, the Super Eagles manager insists Wednesday’s game against the Sylli Nationale of Guinea is “a very important match.”
“If we have these three points and win this game, we are already through. So it will be a decisive game for us perhaps more for us than for them,” Rohr explained.
Nigeria currently leads Group B with 3 points at the 2019 AFCON.