Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme announced his retirement from professional football yesterday in his club – Wolverhampton Wanderers website. Carl has spent the last year treating acute leukemia, he was diagnosed during the routine pre-season medical check-up in July 2017 and has been receiving treatment. On 23rd June, he informed the public he was in “complete remission” after “a tough year and intense chemotherapy”. The news was received in the football circle has one of the best piece of information for his club and the Super Eagles until yesterday’s announcement.
“I spoke with the doctor and he suggested I should retire, because of the toll the treatment has taken on my body,” Ikeme said. “He thinks it’s what is best for me and I can’t really risk trying to come back, my health is the priority. I want to be here for my children, family and friends. In the grand scheme of things with my life in danger, it’s the minimum price I have to pay to spend the rest of my time with my family.”
Wolves executive chairman Jeff Shi said: “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. “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.”
Carl Ikeme was born in West Midlands, England. He had the opportunity to represent both England and Nigeria at international level but chose Nigeria. He made his debut in an AFCON qualifiers in September 2017 and became an important player for the Super Eagles till his medical issues came up. Carl took over the number one spot in the Super Eagles at a time the team needed a new goalkeeper with unexpected international retirement of former skipper Vincent Enyeama in October 2015. He may have had a short spell in the Green and White of Nigeria but he made an impression that would last a life time.
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, Mark Schwarzer, Asmir Begovic, Tomasz Kuszczak, Jack Ruddy, Andreas Sondergaard, David Stockdale, Will Norris and Lukasz Fabianski.
No one can predict what the future holds for Carl and his family but what we’ve witnessed about him in the last 12 months is an indication of his strong character.
Good luck in the phase of your life journey, Carl and thank you for the memories.