Daniel Akpeyi Is Very Important For Nigeria – Jay Jay Okocha Speaks Out

Nigeria legend Jay-Jay Okocha has described Kaizer Chiefs custodian Daniel Akpeyi as a very important player for the Super Eagles despite him missing the Africa Cup of Nations opener against Egypt on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old started from the bench as the Super Eagles snatched a 1-0 win against the Pharaohs in their Group D fixture at Roumde Adjia Stadium.

Nigeria’s interim coach Augustine Eguavoen overlooked the Amakhosi custodian for German-born Nigerian Maduka Okoye and the Super Eagles went on to keep a clean sheet after Kelechi Iheanacho scored the all-important goal.

Okocha, who won the 1994 Afcon with Nigeria and reached at least the semi-finals in all five of the Afcon tournaments he appeared in, feels Akpeyi lost his starting role to Okoye because of injury.

“Daniel [Akpeyi] is a very important player for the squad. He only lost his place through injury and it shows how strong the whole squad is because once you miss out because of injury it is always difficult to get back for a goalkeeper,” Okocha said as quoted by Kaizer Chiefs’ official website.

“We believe we have a great squad and we have people like Daniel we can rely on if needed.”

Apart from Okoye, Akpeyi is currently fighting it out for the starting role with Francis Uzoho and John Barinyima, and according to Okocha, who played for a number of top clubs across Europe, the current competition amongst goalkeepers in the Super Eagles squad is healthy and will benefit the team in the long run.

“It is a plus for us as the keeper’s role is very important,” Okocha continued. “And it is important to have someone you can rely on if your defence is breached.

“I am happy that we have a happy competition in our goalkeeping department and it is a plus for any coach.”

Author: jtayo

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