Akpeyi Replaces Injured Carl Ikeme

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WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
Duro Ikhazuagbe

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, confirmed wednesday that injured Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, will not be available for next weekend’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against the Fennecs of Algeria in Uyo.

The Franco-German coach has invited South Africa-based goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, as replacement for Ikeme who has been Eagles’ No.1 since last year September when Vincent Enyeama quit international football.

Akpeyi, who stars for Chippa United, is generally believed to be the country’s most experienced goalkeeper after Enyeama left the national team but selectors of the men between the sticks have often relegated the Delta-born safe hands to the background.

The most embarrassing for Akpeyi was being invited to the Under-23 Olympic team and made to warm the bench almost all through the tournament where the Dream Team VI won the country’s only bronze medal at Rio 2016 last August.

He was in Samson Siasia’s squad that finished as runners -up at the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in the Netherlands with the likes of John Mikel Obi and co.

Ikeme was forced out of the game at Blackburn Rovers at the weekend due to a sore hip and has been ruled out of this weekend’s game against Derby County.

“We’re going to try and reduce the inflammation. He’s touch and go and we’ll know more in a few days,” said Wolves’ interim manager, Rob Edwards,

He was man of the match in a 2-1 win in Zambia last month after pulling off several game-defining saves.

However, while Nigerian football officials are sad over the news of Ikeme’s injury, Algerian FA chiefs are equally running around for replacement for Bordeaux forward Adam Ounas who is also out of the clash with the Super Eagles.

According to Algeria Football Federation (FAF), the left-sided winger was injured at the weekend in a French Ligue 1 game and team doctors have now chosen not to risk him for the trip to Nigeria.

They have received his medical report from his club which suggested he will be out for a couple of weeks and as such there was no need to put his career on the line.

The exciting 19-year-old star scored five goals in 23 appearances for Bordeaux last season and this term he has made nine appearances in the league.

Ounas was named among 18 foreign pros for the Match-day 2 clash of the African race for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on November 12 in Uyo after he changed his international allegiance to Algeria. He had played for France at the Under-20 age-grade level.

FAF officials are yet to announce a replacement for the uncapped winger.