We don’t want to embarrass the brand, says Chiefs goalie

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We don’t want to embarrass the brand, says Chiefs goalie

Daniel Akpeyi is adamant Amakhosi won’t be relegated, saying the team is hoping for a turnaround on Wednesday

Journalist
Daniel Akpeyi says Kaizer Chiefs players are digging deep to turn their season around.
HIGH HOPES Daniel Akpeyi says Kaizer Chiefs players are digging deep to turn their season around.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

That a Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper can be asked, let alone provide assurance that “this team cannot be relegated”, as incumbent Daniel Akpeyi did this week, seems bewildering.

Chiefs’ floundering season worsened on Sunday when they slipped to 14th place after nine games in the DStv Premiership, losing 2-0 against Maritzburg United at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium.

Coach Gavin Hunt will search for more solutions from a squad that’s part too old‚ part too young‚ and cannot make signings because of a Fifa transfer ban‚ when Amakhosi meet AmaZulu at Kings Park in Durban on Wednesday.

Akpeyi assured the team’s supporters the Soweto giants are too big a club to be relegated.

“I think so far we have not been coming right with our decisions in games‚ but I don’t want to go into tactical matters now,” the Nigeria international goalkeeper said.

“What I want to say is that mentally we should be strong going to our next game because we have quality players who we rely upon and who the team relies upon‚ but sometimes we disappoint ourselves.

“It’s high time we start making ourselves [and the fans] happy.

“It’s only normal for supporters and the country, and every [person who loves] Kaizer Chiefs to be panicking about our situation now because it looks like things are not coming right.

“But it’s a big brand — we don’t want to disgrace ourselves and embarrass the brand. One confidence that I have is that this team cannot be relegated.

“I know from the response of the players and their mentality right now that we are ready to take a different step into the next game. So relegation is not something we are panicking about at the moment.”

Asked about Chiefs’ changeroom dialogue in such a tough season, Akpeyi said: “So far we have not been happy with ourselves because we’ve been down from the beginning of the season. We always make the change room a cemetery for ourselves, where it’s always cold.

“But we keep telling ourselves that we need to change to a different mentality into the next game and we’ve spoken to ourselves again. That’s [the strength] we have for now‚ that we have to keep [assuring] ourselves that we’re going to come right in the next game.

“We’ve talked to ourselves and we’ve tried to identify tour problems in every game we’ve been playing.

“But I think from the response of every single player, everything is coming right and we hope‚ as I said‚ that there’s going to be a turnaround in the next game.”

AmaZulu are in ninth place, with a win and a draw under new coach Benni McCarthy.