Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has revealed his mental strength is helping him deal with criticism from fans and teammates.
The 33-year-old has endured a barrage of condemnation in the past following high profile mistakes while in goal for the Super Eagles.
One such mistake was against Argentina in a 2018 pre-world Cup friendly when he stepped out from his box to pick the ball up and that resulted in a free-kick and goal.
“What helps me is my mental strength. 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,” Akpeyi told ESPN.
“Thank God I grew up with a mentor who taught me how to be mentally strong. With all I have learnt 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.
“When we got to the hotel [after the Argentina friendly], 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.”