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Nigerian Goalee, Carl Ikeme Quits Football

Valentine Chinyem

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Super Eagles of Nigeria and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC goal keeper, Carl Ikeme, has called his time-off from football.

Carl Ikeme made the difficult decision following his long battle with acute leukaemia in July 2017, which had seen him struggling to regain his health.

While calling it quit, the 32 years old said, “It’s been a tough year, I can’t explain how long it’s been. I got back home about six weeks ago after the doctor told me I was in remission. I’m happy to be home, be back at the club to see a few old faces, and just catch up with everyone again. I haven’t really been to Wolverhampton for a year or so and it’s nice to be here.

“It was a relief to know the intense part was over. I was in remission in the first month but you don’t know how the treatment is going to go. It was a relief to get the all clear to go home and spend time with your family. I’ll still be in hospital a little bit but it won’t be like it has been before.

“I spoke with the doctor and he suggested I should retire, because of the toll the treatment has taken on my body. 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.

“It’s difficult in a way to look back at what you’ve gone through in your football career. In the grand scheme of things with your life in danger, it’s the minimum price I have to pay to spend the rest of my time with my family.

“I’ve had a long year and I knew it would be difficult, but hearing it from the doctor confirmed what I thought might happen anyway. It’s sad when I look back, from being six or seven years old and the sacrifices it’s taken to become a professional football and the sacrifices my family and friends made to get me to training, that’s what you get a bit emotional about.

More so, a statement on the website of Wolverhampton Wanderers, reads:

“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 (with) 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.”

Ikeme played for Wolves in three divisions – the EPL, Championship, and League 1, in a career that started in 2003. He started his career ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, during the qualifiers, be he was diagnosed with cancer.