Kaizer Chiefs three goalkeeping musketeers have been an almost impenetrable last line of defence in the Caf Champions League, with Daniel Akpeyi, Itumeleng Khune and Bruce Bvuma keeping an incredible 11 clean sheets in 14 games.
Their impressive collective form has played a key role in ensuring Chiefs reach the Champions League final. And one of them will be in the starting lineup when the Soweto giants take on Al Ahly in the final showdown at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca tonight (9pm).
“We’ve worked very hard to get to where we are. Keeping 11 clean sheets in 14 games is a great record. I don’t know if any other team has kept so many clean sheets, using three goalkeepers, in the tournament. It’s something we will look back on in our careers and be very proud about,” said Bruce Bvuma.
“It shows there’s great competition amongst us and we know how important it is for the team.”
Bvuma has played three games in the Champions League this season, making his tournament debut in the 4-0 quarter-final thrashing of Tanzania’s Simba, before helping the team hold on for dear life in a 3-0 loss to Simba away, which was just enough to ensure progression.
But it was in keeping a sensational clean sheet in the semi-final away to the powerful Wydad Casablanca in Chiefs’ famous 1-0 away win where Bvuma produced the best performance of his young Amakhosi career.
“As much as you want to keep those clean sheets, they’re good for us as individuals, the most important thing for us is to win. Itu and Daniel set the standard high, so I don’t have any choice but to perform when I am given the chance to play,” added Bvuma.
“Credit must go to them and to our entire goalkeeping department, and to coach Lee Baxter, for ensuring the standard of Kaizer Chiefs goalkeepers is always up there.”
Nigerian Super Eagle, Akpeyi, has been flawless in the Champions League, and in the six games and 491 minutes he has played in the campaign, he is yet to concede a goal.
“It would be weird to say I’ve never thought about the record of clean sheets whatsoever. For me firstly, the main target is always to win a match when I take the field of play. If a clean sheet comes, fine, but I just know that it has helped us to be in a good position and that we are doing well. Credit must go to every player who has helped me keep six straight clean sheets,” said Akpeyi, who also saluted Lee Baxter for ensuring Amakhosi keepers compete fiercely, “without having any grudges”.
It’s a message of unity echoed by Bafana Bafana legend, Khune, who has also kept three important clean sheets in the tournament, seeing out a crucial 1-0 home win against Wydad in the tournament’s group stage after Akpeyi was sent off.
“As a goalkeeping department, we always strive for perfection, even though nobody is perfect. We always push one another to reach our highest potential. We are doing that for this badge, which has been good to us and which we owe a lot. We always support one another,” said Khune.
“Whoever doesn’t play, supports the one that plays. Whoever plays, knows they have the support of those who are not playing. Whenever we are given a chance, we perform. We don’t pull long faces. We are all great goalkeepers, but we know that only one can play on the day,” adds Khune.
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By FARPost Reporter