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Sandilands feels for Akpeyi

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“It’s just focusing on your work, focusing on your training and what’s in your control”

WAYNE Sandilands knows exactly what Daniel Akpeyi is going through. The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper finds himself facing a barrage of criticism after making a mistake in their 2-1 loss to Maritzburg United.

Akpeyi’s mistake has made supporters forget all the heroics he produced this season and his contribution in Chiefs’ brilliant display in the first half of the season.

Such is the life of the goalkeeper that one mistake is remembered for eternity while a hundred saves are forgotten almost instantly.

Sandilands experienced this in his first couple of games at Orlando Pirates, where he seemed to do no right in the eyes of ‘The Ghost’. But he buckled down and won them over through consistent displays, ensuring that he is among the first names coach Josef Zinnbauer will put in his Pirates XI to take on Amakhosi in the Soweto Derby on Saturday at FNB Stadium.

Sandilands revealed how he got over the doubts placed over his head.

“It’s just focusing on your work, focusing on your training and what’s in your control,” Sandilands said.

“You can’t control what everybody is saying, what everybody is thinking and what the coach might be doing. You’ve got to focus on what you are doing every single day, if you are performing well at training, you are showing your confidence then the coach sees that, and it might influence his decision.

“It is a hard place but as a professional you have to dig deep within yourself, have character and be strong, believe in your ability and capabilities.”

Even though Sandilands has earned his place as Pirates’ No 1, ‘The Ghost’ still give the club’s players an earful when they play the ball back to the 36-year-old. One mistake would bring him back to the dark place he was in when his own fans heckled him.

Akpeyi is likely to start against the Sea Robbers with Itumeleng Khune having been used as the cup goalkeeper.

Coach Ernst Middendorp and Chiefs’ players have publicly come out in support of Akpeyi, who has been influential in the club’s fight for the championship after four barren seasons.

The Soweto Derby could make or break Akpeyi’s relationship with Amakhosi supporters.

“Errors are in football,” Sandilands said.

“You are a human being, there is no person who doesn’t do that. So I suppose it’s your own perception of that mistake; you either allow that negative talk to affect you and let criticism be a good focal point of your life, or you chose to get on with your work and ignore it.

“It is what it is, but as a professional you just have to put your head down and focus on what you are in control of. Focus on your work and take it from there.

“It is a tough situation and that’s where character is built. I am sure with the character being built like that it puts you in a good stead in your career.

“They (Chiefs) also have experienced goalkeepers so I am sure that they have their own processes and know what they are doing.”

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