Itumeleng Khune has vowed to ‘reclaim’ his number position at Kaizer Chiefs but admitted that Daniel Akpeyi hasn’t made it easy for him and will continue to support the Nigerian shot-stopper.
The Bafana Bafana international made his much-anticipated return to the Chiefs starting XI when they hosted Royal Eagles in the Nedbank Cup last week Saturday after losing his place in the team as a result of sustaining a groin injury in ‘Amakhosi’s league game against Baroka in October 2019.
Despite the club revealing back in November that Khune was fit and raring to go, he only reclaimed the captain’s armband and played his first game in 2020 in Chiefs’ 1-0 victory over GladAfrica Championship side Eagles.
“He (Akpeyi) deserves all my support as at the end of the day we want to achieve as a team and whoever gets the nod will get our full support and that’s what Daniel has been getting from me and from all of us and the whole goalkeeping department,” said Khune.
“I’ve been working very hard to get back into the team, but Daniel hasn’t made it easy for me,” added Khune ahead of Amakhosi’s Absa Premiership clash against Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
“So, Daniel has been getting that full support from each and every one of us in the goalkeeping department and that’s why he has been doing so well. I will wait for my chance.
“It felt great to be back in the mix and the guys and the supports welcomed me with opened arms. The more I keep working hard at training, the more I will convince the coaches I deserve to be back in the team.
“But if that doesn’t happen I will continue supporting Daniel because we call it healthy competition and as you can see whoever is on the field is able to perform.
“I’ve been the number one for a very long time so I need to get back to my best in order for me to reclaim, so I will work hard when nobody sees,” said the 32-year-old.
In the absence of Khune, Akpeyi has proven to be an important member of the Chiefs defence keeping 8 clean sheets in 16 league games.
“I think it is always good to give coaches a good headache on whom to choose and start and to sit on the bench but like I said every time we play matches we get told that we are not in the starting XI we take it as professionals and we give the support to those who deserve it,” concluded Khune.
Chiefs will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership as they welcome the ‘Team of Choice’ at FNB on Saturday, kickoff at 18:00.
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi