Super Eagles goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, has said Nigerians cannot wait for the AFCON to start:
After missing out of back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles will be in Egypt. How do you feel with this great achievement?
Apart from the players, it was an exciting moment for the whole of Nigeria. After failing to be part of two consecutive championships, to be going there again is a massive achievement.
However, the race is just starting, because people are looking at what we are going to achieve at the championship.
As a team, we are going to take it one game after another. Getting the qualifications was a little bit difficult at the onset where we lost 2-0 to South Africa. But here we are now, already preparing for the AFCON.
All the players have been discussing this at their various clubs; they are trying so hard to keep themselves in shape and also be ready whenever that are called upon for the competition, so as to give good account of themselves.
How did you feel playing for the country of your birth (Nigeria), against a country (South Africa) where you’re earning your living?
It was an exciting time for me personally, especially being in goal against the Bafana Bafana.
However, it didn’t work out the way I was expecting it as we lost 2-0, as a result of which some Nigerians almost chopped off my head!
I wanted to win the game, especially at home and make a statement, but football as it is, we lost the game. I am happy for South Africa, that they qualified; hopefully they can do something in Egypt.
If you are playing constantly with your club, then it will help you to be part of the national team for a long period of time
It’s going to be a 24-team competition. Do you see this as a development or…
This will provide a great opportunity for other countries to be part of the AFCON. For example, countries like Burundi, Madagascar and so on are coming to Egypt.
If it was still the 16 teams, I am not sure they would make it. If these new countries perform well, the older ones will be forced to stay on their toes.
We have young players in the team with people already likening them to the 1994 squad. What’s your take on this?
Yes, we might see them playing for a very long time but there must be consistency, which will put them above their teammates.
This doesn’t have to do with performance on the pitch alone but on and off it. If you are playing constantly with your club, then it will help you to be part of the national team for a long period of time.
How does it feel to move from Chippas to Kaizer Chiefs in the South Africa league?
It was a great move for me.
I was very excited when the deal came after several delays. Kaizer is a top club and a great opportunity for me to continue my career there.