Khune or Akpeyi? Middendorp’s indecision is final
The Kaizer Chiefs coach welcomes having two international goalkeepers to choose from
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp says he is happy to have two class international goalkeepers in Daniel Akpeyi and Itumeleng Khune as Amakhosi enter the final third of the season challenging for the league and the Nedbank Cup.
Middendorp said he and his technical team will make decisions as the season progresses.
Khune played just a third game of the season in Chiefs’ 1-0 Nedbank Cup last-32 win over Royal Eagles at FNB Stadium on Saturday. It followed the keeper’s unsuccessful two-match comeback from injury in September.
Given Amakhosi were facing the bottom team in the GladAfrica Championship‚ at home‚ it was no surprise the Bafana Bafana No 1 had a quiet night between the posts. But he did provide the trademark distribution ball out of his box that culminated in Lebogang Manyama’s 70th-minute winning goal.
Nigeria No 1 Akpeyi has been in form in Chiefs’ winning run in Khune’s absence as they have surged to the top of the Premiership. But Khune’s distribution skills have always been a weapon for Amakhosi.
Middendorp was asked how he will juggle having two international goalkeepers‚ both with much to offer‚ in the final third of the season. “Don’t think too much about it‚” the Chiefs coach said. “The game was successful today‚ tomorrow morning we train and then we go and prepare ourselves for other things.
“We will chat about it with the goalkeeping department. They have a very clear understanding of what’s possible. Let’s wait and see. Actually‚ I don’t want to make a decision now.
“Daniel played a run of very solid games in the league‚ kept us in the game very often. So at the moment I would probably say it would be Daniel next week‚ and if the cup competition comes a week later‚ I’m not sure.
“Actually I just need the quality inside [the team]. And I don’t have a problem to make a selection with ‘Itu’‚ or without Daniel, not at all. We just make the decision‚ and that’s it.”
At the same time Middendorp pronounced himself satisfied with the debut of Anthony Akumu in the win over Royal Eagles. The Kenyan midfielder was signed on January 15 from Zambian club Zesco United and had to wait just over three weeks for his introduction to first-team football. However, the coach said Akumu needs to acquaint himself with his new surroundings.
“Of course‚ we have seen some different patterns from Anthony. He came in after just more than three weeks. At the moment now it is to know the combinations — where to go and what to do.
“Percentage-wise‚ I don’t know actually. We have the options in the midfield with other players. We have used him even in a centreback position in training sessions — he was quite impressive and positive too.”
Chiefs host Maritzburg United in the league at FNB on Saturday.