Retired international goalkeeper, Carl Onuoha Ikeme has been confirmed as a member of the Super Eagles’ coaching crew, but he will not start work with the team until after next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles.
This much was confirmed at the weekend by Eagles technical adviser, Genot Rohr, who said Ikeme will soon resume work as one of the team’s goalkeepers’ trainers.
However, Rohr said Ikeme will not be with the Eagles for their September 7 match against Seychelles, because the 10-hour flight from his base in England to the venue in Victoria would be too much for the leukaemia survivor.
Rohr, though, stated categorically that the former Wolverhampton Wanderers of England shot-stopper will join the Eagles’ crew for subsequent matches, as the Franco-German tactician
Aside training the Eagles’ keepers, Rohr further said Ikeme, who recently announced his retirement from the round leather game, will also help to monitor and discover young Nigerian goal minders.
Rohr added that he wants the 32-year-old Wolves’ former number one goalie to help the Eagles find young goalies that will be of future help to Nigeria win global titles.
Ikeme spent his entire career at Wolverhampton, making 207 appearances across all competitions before hanging his gloves, after recovering from acute leukaemia, which made him to be in hospital for almost a year.
He was supposed to be the Eagles number one goalkeeper at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but he could not make the trip due to the blood cancer sickness.
Now that Ikeme has overcome the health battle, Rohr is positioning him for a role in the national team, following an earlier declaration by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) that the England-born star will not be discarded in retirement.
Rohr expatiated: “Our plan is to have him around for the game against Seychelles but that is not going to be possible because of the long hours of travelling down from England to Seychelles but we hope to have him with us in subsequent games.
“You know he is still recovering from his sickness and it will not be ideal for him to go through long hours of travelling now.
“I have already discussed with the NFF about having him with us as part of the backroom staff and it is something that they have really considered.
“It is important to have a good plan for him after football. We are monitoring some young goalkeepers who will be useful for the team in future.
“There is one who is only 15 years old that Carl Ikeme our former goalkeeper has recommended to us and is monitoring him as well.
“We trust his judgement because he knows the quality we want and hopefully, we will get to see these young goalkeepers take over from the present ones in future.”