Officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have hinted that Wolverhampton Wanderers of England goalkeeper, Carl Onuoha Ikeme might be part of the Super Eagles’ squad to this year’s World Cup in a ceremonial status, following reports that he is set to end his ongoing treatment for luekaemia.
Feelers from the NFF indicate that top shots in The Glasshouse would have loved to see Ikeme return straight into the Eagles’ roster for Russia 2018, but admit the final verdict will have to come from the shot-stopper’s club, hence the option to accord him the status of a guest appearance in the team.
This comes few days after more than 30 runners from Wolves, including academy staff and community trust, took to the a muddy track in Leamington Spa for the gruelling 10k course in support of Ikeme.
Ikeme continues to undergo treatment and a host of fundraising activities have taken place throughout the year with more than £120,000 raised for Cure Leukaemia.
Just under £10,000 has been raised by the Wolf Run team so far and Wolves have pledged to double that, with hopes of reaching a final total of £25,000.
Sporting director, Kevin Thelwell, who completed the run alongside his son Robbie, said it was all for Carl.
He said: “Our academy manager Gareth Prosser came up with the idea – we all want to raise awareness and show our support for Carl in any way we can.
“Carl is a huge part of the Wolves family and almost the head of it in so many ways as he’s been with the club since he was a youngster. To have what happened last summer knocked everyone for six.
“Cure Leukaemia is a fantastic cause – while we’re doing it for Carl it’s also about everyone who has leukaemia and trying to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.
For the run itself, Thelwell added: “It was horrendous! They said it’d be loads of fun and there were a few obstacles…they didn’t remind you of the 80-metre swim in a freezing cold lake!
“But there was a great feeling of togetherness among the staff and we’re gratefully receiving all the donations we’re getting.”
Meanwhile, first vice-president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwumi has stated that Ikeme is very anxious to return to active football, after his battles with leukaemia.
With Ikeme billed to step out of hospital early next month, after almost a year of treatment for the disease also known as blood cancer, Akinwumi says the Super Eagles shot-stopper cannot wait to get back into action.
Akinwumi, who is also chairman Lagos State Football Association, said Ikeme is anxious to return to football, but admits he might not be able to make it to the World Cup.
He said Ikeme rues missing the Mundial in Russia, but quickly interjected that the Eagles’ coaches are satisfied with the four keepers they have in that area.
Akinwumi said the option is for Gernot Rohr and his crew members to continue working on the keepers they have at their disposal, with hope that they will be ready for action at Russia 2018.
However, he would not join in predicting how far the Super Eagles will go in Russia, but is confident that Nigeria will qualify from the group stage, adding the Super Eagles will give it their best shot to write their name in history.