Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has backed Daniel Akpeyi to continue in goal for the Absa Premiership title run-in but did also confirm that Itumeleng Khune will start in this weekend's Nedbank Cup clash against Highlands Park.
Akpeyi made a high-profile error in Chiefs' 2-1 loss against Maritzburg United on Saturday with Middendorp now under extreme pressure to select Khune again after the Bafana shot stopper fully recovered from a long-term injury.
Middendorp though insists Akpeyi deserves to play in the league as he has done brilliantly throughout the season to help Amakhosi stay at the top of the table.
"We started the Nedbank Cup with Itu Khune at goalkeeper against Royal Eagles. We go to the next round - we did it last year with Bruce Bvuma in the Nedbank Cup, and we are doing it now - and that’s the decision that on Saturday we will play Itu Khune. And nothing else," said Middendorp according to quotes in the TimesLIVE.
"And let me make one statement. Our supporters at Kaizer Chiefs are very intelligent, very smart. They do not get carried away, just because there was a little mistake and we conceded from our defensive work.
"We have seen a fantastic Daniel Akpeyi over months, rescuing us in the final stage, saving a penalty."
The Chiefs mentor then went on to remind everyone that Akpeyi had in fact picked up the league's player of the month award not too long ago.
Middendorp continued: "He was a player of the month (for September/October).
"And what we have seen now over several months - please guys, everybody who observes Kaizer Chiefs and is following us know exactly what a goalkeeper like Daniel Akpeyi has done here during the run of the season.
"And there is no way at this moment for me, for us, for each and every person in this Chiefs family, to be ignoring it."
- TEAMtalk media