Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, has once again regretted not representing Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup, but says he has an unfinished business with the team.
Ikeme’s playing career came to a shocking end in July when he announced his retirement from professional football following a year-long battle with acute leukemia.
Born in Sutton Coldfield in Britain by a Nigerian dad, Ikeme opted to play for the Eagles and he made his international debut in 2015, after which he became the first-choice keeper following the retirement of Vincent Enyeama.
He went on to play in eight more games for Nigeria including early World Cup qualifying matches before the ailment struck and denied him of an appearance at the global showpiece, although he was named as a honorary ’24th player’ of the Nigerian team.
Speaking to BBC Sports, the former Wolverhampton goalie, said: “The World Cup was the hardest thing, football-wise, for me to deal with.”
He continued: “When we played England at Wembley in June, I felt it should have been me. It was the same during the first match of the World Cup. It is not a case of life not being fair, more that every kid wants to play at one.
“I watched the matches through multiple angles. Even though I had my own issues, I couldn’t think the games didn’t matter. I had an emotional involvement.
“They were my team-mates. People I class as friends. When Argentina scored in the last minute to knock us out, I was angry in my living room. I felt bad as a fan. I felt sad for my team-mates and sad for Nigeria.
“I can’t explain how joyous playing for Nigeria was for me. To know my whole family was proud. To know I was representing 200 million people who are mad about football. I love it there.”
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had in July offered Ikeme a role in the technical crew of the Super Eagles, and the goalkeeper has now revealed he is set to begin.
“I have unfinished business with Nigeria. I have spoken to the manager, Gernot Rohr, about learning from him; about the set-up and understanding the tactics from the sidelines. He has offered me the opportunity to go and be one of his assistants, which is great.
“I am hoping to be involved in an upcoming fixture against Libya in October. If not that one, the next.”
Ikeme however pointed out that he is not sure what the future holds for him and not anxious to jump into any job, that he is absolutely happy being around his family at this point in time.
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears
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