Ikeme Speaks On Missing Eagles 2018 W/Cup
Carl Ikeme/Photo: Twitter

Ex-Nigeria international Carl Ikeme has rued missing the 2018 World Cup in Russia after he announced his retirement due to leukemia.

The former Wolves man, 32, played the first game of the qualification series for the tournament but missed the rest of the qualifiers and the competition itself after he was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July 2017.

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Although he had been offered a coaching role with the Super Eagles, the goalkeeper still regrets not going to his first-ever World Cup.

“The World Cup was the hardest thing, football-wise, for me to deal with,” Ikeme told BBC.

“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.”

He said he “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.

“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.”