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Chiefs keeper focused on the present

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Daniel Akpeyi remains resolute that Amakhosi are taking each and every game seriously, be it a cup or league game, as they look to end a trophy drought that has extended to five seasons.

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi will be leaving nothing to chasnce against TS Galaxy in their upcoming league encounter. Picture: Itumeleng English, African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – Down but not out. That’s the general feeling at Kaizer Chiefs as they look to return to winning ways via the DStv Premiership following an embarrassing defeat to Orlando Pirates in a cup competition.

Fresh from a convincing outing against Chippa United in the league, all looked set for Chiefs to continue with the winning momentum in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals against nemesis Pirates away at the Orlando Stadium.

But the Glamour Boys trail Pirates 3-0 heading into the return leg at home on Sunday, thanks to goals from Zakhele Lepasa, Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch.

However, a win this evening at FNB Stadium against TS Galaxy, who they’ll be hoping to outmuscle and avenge the 1-0 defeat in the Nedbank Cup final in 2019, could be their shot at redemption heading into the Soweto derby.

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, who conceded all three goals against Pirates, knows the importance of bagging a successive win in the league, considering that they lost to champions Mamelodi Sundowns on the opening day.

“We’ve put ourselves on the back foot. So, it’s important that each and every one of us realises where we’ve gone wrong and try to work on that,” Akpeyi said.

“We know that we need to put everything that we have into the next game. We need to ensure that we make up for the loss against Pirates.”

On paper, Chiefs are expected to run all over the Rockets. But with Amakhosi coach Gavin Hunt still unsettled about his starting line-up, things may not be easy as they seem for the Glamour Boys.

In the league Galaxy are undefeated, bagging four points in two matches. And in coach Dan “Dance” Malesela and with the infamous Nedbank Cup victory over Chiefs still at the back of their mind, they won’t be pushovers.

“They might still have that momentum in them, believing in how they played against us in the cup game. But football is not about history but the present,” said Akpeyi who appears to be the club’s No. 1 this season.

“I am sure that they’ll be well prepared for us, considering what happened on the weekend. But we’ve learnt our mistakes and we are coming out stronger. So, we are hoping that by meeting Galaxy, we’ll give a 120% focus.”

That Chiefs were outplayed by Pirates was also a differentiation of the two squads in terms of depth, considering that Pirates have bolstered their squad with no fewer than seven players, which include Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo.

Chiefs, on the other hand, have been the most unfortunate team of the lot in top-flight football as they can’t sign players at least until July 2021, following a one-year transfer ban handed by Fifa for irregularities in the signing of Arohasina Andrianarimanana.

Despite the current misfortune that the club faces, Akpeyi remains resolute that they are taking each and every game seriously, be it a cup or league game, as they look to end a trophy drought that has extended to five seasons.

“I think every game matters. It’s not about the league or cup game. Even the cup game is important because winning a cup game brings you closer to winning the competition instead of the league which is a marathon.”

@Mihlalibaleka