Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi says his mental strength has made him stand tall in the face of criticism from fans and some of his teammates.
The 33-year-old has endured constant condemnation from fans in Nigeria following a series of errors while in goal for the Super Eagles.
The Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa goalie was blamed for being out of position as Riyad Mahrez curled in a brilliant free-kick for Algeria in a semi-final clash at the last AFCON in Egypt.
An error also led to a goal by Argentina in a 2018 pre-World Cup friendly after the 33-year-old picked up the ball outside his box, which led to a free-kick and a goal.
This has made the former Warri Wolves shot-stopper receive several backlashes from some his compatriots, but he insists he has learnt how to live with criticisms.
“ What helps me is my mental strength,” Akpeyi told ESPN.
“I really don’t follow the news about what is going on, especially when it comes to soccer from Africa and this part of the world.”
“Thank God I grew up with a mentor who taught me how to be mentally strong. With all I have learned from my mentor, I can’t give up on myself. I am not going to prove a point to anybody, I only have to prove a point to myself that whatever I have been trained with actually works.”
Akpeyi revealed he overheard one of his teammates while speaking on the phone predicting the end of his international career after the blunder he committed in the friendly against Argentina.
“When we got to the hotel, I overheard one of my teammates in the other room telling somebody on the phone ‘I don’t think he should be invited to the national team again; how can he concede that kind of goal.”
“My own teammate!
“He was just outside the room next to mine and talking. This is a professional footballer who plays in Europe.”
“But I thank God because it is by His grace that I am here.”
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