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Middendorp confirms Khune’s return but insists Akpeyi has Kaizer Chiefs’ backing

The German mentor says he will go with the club’s captain this weekend but not because of the mistake the Nigeria international made last Saturday

Ernst Middendorp has confirmed Itumeleng Khune will return to the goal-posts for this weekend’s Nedbank Cup Round 16 match against Highlands Park

However, the German mentor said this decision is not motivated by a goalkeeping error made by Daniel Akpeyi last weekend, saying it’s his policy which he started implemented last season, rotating Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma while Khune was still injured. 

“In the Nedbank Cup when we played Royal Eagles, Itu Khune was the goalkeeper,” Middendorp told reporters on Wednesday.   

“We have the next round in the Nedbank Cup [against Highlands Park]… we did it last year in Cup competitions with Bruce [Bvuma]. We are doing it again but, at the moment, it’s a decision for Saturday – we do it with Itumeleng Khune and nothing else.”

Middendorp went on to reveal that Akpeyi has the club’s support despite the costly mistake which led to their 2-1 loss to Maritzburg United last Saturday. 

He further described Amakhosi fans as smart and intelligent – the ones who don’t get carried away and panic over a little mistake as he again defended Akpeyi, who has been one of the club’s standout players this season.    

“And let me make one statement: Our supporters at Kaizer Chiefs are very smart, very intelligent. They don’t get carried away just because there was a little mistake and we conceded in our defensive work,” added Middendorp.   

“We have seen a fantastic Daniel Akpeyi over months, rescuing us in the final stages, saving penalties. He was very crucial in other games as everybody knows. He was a man [of the match] and a player of the month several times. 

“And what we have seen now over the past seven or eight months… please guys, everybody who watches and follows Kaizer Chiefs knows exactly what Daniel Akpeyi has done this season and there is no way for me, for us or each and everybody in this Kaizer Chiefs family who is ignoring that.”

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