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Missing World Cup was the hardest thing for me to deal with, says Ikeme

Missing World Cup was the hardest thing for me to deal with, says Ikeme
September 21
14:36 2018

Carl Ikeme, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, says it was painful to miss the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Ikeme, who was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July 2017, told BBC that his inability to join the Super Eagles in Russia affected him psychologically.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers shot-stopper said he’s looking forward to being involved with the team in a coaching capacity, noting that he has “unfinished business with Nigeria”.

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

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“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 teammates and sad for Nigeria.

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“I 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.”

Ikeme became Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper in 2015 after Vincent Enyeama quit international football following a fallout with former Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh.

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