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I hold no grudge against Rohr, says Akpeyi

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Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi reacts after conceding during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Semi-final football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Cairo International stadium in Cairo on July 14, 2019. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Super Eagles Goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi says the decision by Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr to exclude him from the international friendly with the senior national team of Ukraine on September 10 will not spark ‘unnecessary altercation’ between them.

On Wednesday, Rohr rolled out his list of 23 players for the match scheduled for Dnipro Arena in Ukraine with Akpeyi’s name missing. Before the list was released, there were insinuations in some quarters that Rohr was blaming Akpeyi for Nigeria’s defeat to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in the semifinal match of the Egypt 2019 AFCON.

However, Akpeyi, who was on duty for Nigeria in five out of the seven matches in Egypt, where the team picked a bronze medal, stated yesterday from his base in South Africa that he had no personal disagreement with the coach before or after the game against Algeria.

“We have been relating well, and I don’t have any disagreement with the coach,” Akpeyi said in a chat with The Guardian yesterday.

Continuing, Akpeyi, who is enjoying a good start with his South African club, Kaizer Chiefs, in the on-going season said: “I am calm and I am not holding any grudge against anybody for not being invited for the friendly against Ukraine.

“The coach (Rohr) did not speak with me. He did not come face to face with me to pass any form of blame after we lost to Algeria in Egypt. He remains the coach of the Super Eagles, and he has the right to invite anybody into the team. The fact that I am not invited today does not mean he may not need me tomorrow. I am a Nigerian and I am willing to serve my country any day. I wish the team the best of luck,” Akpeyi stated.

Shortly before he departed for South Africa in July, Akpeyi lashed out at football fans calling for Coach Gernot Rohr’s sack, saying those criticising the Franco-German didn’t mean well for the nation’s football.

He told The Guardian that it was disturbing that some Nigerians would call for the head of Gernot Rohr despite his good records with the Eagles since he assumed duty in 2017. He asked: “Calling for Rohr’s sack, who do you think will be the messiah that other groups will not also call for his sack? Even those who have won trophies for Nigeria at a point had some other groups calling for their sack. Nobody will be good enough for Nigeria until we come together and stand for one interest.”

In Akpeyi’s absence, the Super Eagles will confront Ukraine with Cyprus-based Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC) and Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany).


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