Former Super Eagles’ number one goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, has been hailed by the global football community after announcing his retirement from the game.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers FC goalie, diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July 2017 but who entered into complete remission only last month, announced the decision on Friday afternoon.
Last month, on entering into complete remission, Ikeme had announced on his twitter handle: “After a tough year and intense chemotherapy treatment I would like to let everyone know I am in complete REMISSION. I still have hurdles to get over to be cured but I can hopefully now move forward with some normality.
“I would like to thank my family/friends, to start with who have gone above and beyond for me. The support I have received from Wolves/Nigeria, the football world and from people from all over the world has been hard to put into words. I can’t thank everyone at the Christie and Heartlands Hospital enough for their care!!! What next who knows…I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
Ikeme was in goal for Nigeria’s first three matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying series (home and away against Swaziland in the preliminary stage, and away to Zambia in the opener to the group phase campaign) before being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
His first cap was in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in September 2015.
Meanwhile praises poured in for the 32-year-old with his fellow keepers hailing him.
“Having been at the club since the age of 14, Carl is far more than just a player in our eyes – he is our brother and an important part of our family,” said Wolves executive chairman Jeff Shi.
“When Carl came to tell us his news, yes there was sadness, but also great happiness to see him so healthy and hungry for the opportunities that lay ahead of him.
“Carl is strong, a fighter, something he has proven in his playing career and also during what has been a very challenging time for him, so I have no doubt he will be a success in whatever he does next. We wish Carl all the very best for the future, but remind him he will always remain a part of the Wolves family.”
Goalkeepers from various nationalities and clubs in England also praised their former colleague.
In a video clip posted on the Wolves Twitter handle, while some of the players sang to the tune of the famous Cuban song ‘Guantanamera’ to render ‘One Carl Ikeme, there is only one Carl Ikeme’, others only chanted the phrase.
Some of the keepers in the video are Iker Casillas, Petr Cech, David Seaman, Joe Hart, Boaz Myhill, Mike Stowell, Adam Federici, Walter Zenger and Mark Schwarzer.
Others are Asmir Begovic, Tomasz Kuszczak, Jack Ruddy, Andreas Sondergaard, David Stockdale, Will Norris and Lukasz Fabianski.