Cape Town - Former Nigeria goalkeeper Joe Erico has backed Chippa United's Daniel Akpeyi to cement his place in the Super Eagles team.
The goalkeeper has been called up to the national team ahead of their
World Cup qualifier against Algeria, and Erico believes this is
Akpeyi's chance to prove his worth.
"His (coach Gernot Rohr) choice of Akpeyi is a good one and it shows that his good work at his club is recognised," Erico told Punch Nigeria.
"Nigeria is blessed with good goalkeepers. With this invitation, Akpeyi has a chance to play his way into the national team.
"Akpeyi will not find it easy to get a starting role but this could
be his chance. Ikeme became the first choice after the exit of Vincent
Enyeama - and he proved his worth, hence the new coach decided to retain
"Enyeama had other challengers when he was first choice but none
could outperform him when they had the opportunity, that was why he
remained the first choice for a long time. Goalkeepers get better with
age and Akpeyi is no exception.
"This invitation is an opportunity for him prove that what he did
against Egypt (in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers) was no
fluke. Akpeyi has good reflexes just like Ikeme, but only some inches
shorter. I believe that he will deliver against Algeria."
Akpeyi meanwhile has described his delight at being called up for his national team.
30-year-old goalkeeper was initially left out of the squad, with Carl
Ikeme preferred, but after an injury to the Wolverhampton gloveman,
Akpeyi was called upon.
The Chilli Boys 'keeper is looking forward
to the challenge and is confident the Super Eagles will get the best of
the Desert Foxes.
"Of course, I consider it always an honour and
privilege to serve my fatherland, I'm happy with the call up as I'm 100%
fit and determined to justify my inclusion in the game against the
Algerian opponents, Desert Foxes," he told SuperSport.