The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper was blamed for Nigeria’s semi-final loss to Algeria at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt
Daniel Akpeyi has had his say on the last-minute strike he conceded from a Riyad Mahrez freekick at last year’s AFCON.
The Super Eagles faced the Desert Foxes in the semi-finals of the competition, and with the scores tied at 1-1 in the final minute of added time, Mahrez broke millions of Nigerian hearts by firing home a freekick from close range.
Following the loss, Nigerians expressed their anger at Akpeyi as they believed he should have kept out the Manchester City’s star strike.
Speaking on the issue for the first time, Akpeyi admitted he was at fault, and he should have done better with his positioning.
“I must say that maybe I was not in the right position where I should be,” he told ESPN.
“My coaches always say that if the position of the set play is very close. He will probably have 20% chance of scoring on the other side. So I should have shifted a little.
Akpeyi revealed he knew after the match that there’d be a lot of backlash from Nigerians, and when it came, he took it as a professional.
“At the back of my head, I just knew that Nigerians will come at me again, but you just have to stand your ground. It has happened to the best in the world. It is going to happen again. You won’t be the last. But if you keep this in your head, it is going to drain you.
“At the end of the day, the people that tried to put you down will rejoin over this. So be a professional, take it, learn from it, and go on. So when I got all that backlash, as a human, you will feel it; but I laughed at it and shook it off.
While he admitted he was at fault, Akpeyi believes the reaction went overboard just because he was the one in goal that night.
“Imagine that a week later, he scored a similar goal in his club, and the world did not come down.
“But because it is Akpeyi, it was very easy for the bell to ring in people’s mind that Akpeyi is this, Akpeyi is that,” he added.