Absa Premiership

Akpeyi has 'healthy, competitive relationship' with Khune

Daniel Akpeyi says he has a healthy, competitive relationship with fellow Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

The 33-year-old replaced an injured Khune as first-choice stopper for Amakhosi this season and retained the No 1 jersey upon the Bafana man's return.

There were calls from fans to restore Khune, and Akpeyi says he understands their rationale, but acknowledged it is not up to the players to decide who plays.

He told Goal: "There was this debate over who would play and who would not play because Itu is back and all that.

"I respect Itu because he has paid his dues. So if he has a whole lot of supporters backing him to play, he deserves it 100%.

"Again, I am not fighting for a position with anybody, but sometimes the fans do not understand the dynamics of football and they believed that since Itu was back, whether I am playing or not, the coach should just throw him back into the team.

"But the coach is that kind of person who sticks to his instincts and doesn't get swayed by anybody's decision. He just stood his ground."

The Nigeria international shotstopper added: "After Itu came back he was playing cup games to get his match fitness back. So the coach made it clear that he should go on playing cup games while I should continue with the league.

"The atmosphere wasn't too conducive but I had to be mentally strong because I understand even some club legends wanted him to play.

"But the coach stood his ground and gave me the nod. So I made up my mind to go into the game to prove a point that we wanted to win the derby, and Akpeyi is not the Daniel Akpeyi they think. So I had a point to prove and I just had to make sure I don't disappoint the coach and the people who believed in me."

- TEAMtalk media