Sunday, July 29, 2018

he news of Carl Ikeme's rather premature retirement from soccer came as a rude shock to yours sincerely. The news of his gradual recovery from his sickness, heightened my expectations of his return to soccer. But helas fate had a different opinion, and on his doctors' advice, decided to hang his soccer boots rather prematurely.

NEWS HEADLINE: Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme retires from football

We shall all miss him. His short passage through the Super Eagles - 10 international appearances- would be permanently remembered as being eventful; and a further reminder of how classy a goalkeeper can be; and of the standards a Super Eagles' goalkeeper should attain, to be deemed a top keeper. He certainly helped redefine goalkeeping standards for the Super Eagles of Nigeria!

Yours sincerely had the opportunity of watching him live, when the Super Eagles played Cameroun, in a friendly almost three years ago, in Brussels, Belgium. He came across as a charismatic gentle man, who exuded so much confidence and warmth between the sticks. He also had a very good communication ability with the defenders, and, thus, helped stabilise the defence!

One also remembers his superb goalkeeping heroics, when the Super Eagles started the 2018 World cup qualifiers against Zambia, in Ndola, Zambia. Needless saying his superb goalkeeping heroics and -reflexes made the Super Eagles come away from that match with the maximum three points at stake!

He easily filled the big gap left by another great goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama! His absence is a clarion call to the other Super Eagles' goalkeepers to further up their game, to adequately fill the huge gap left by Carl Ikeme. No doubt some progress has been made in this direction, but more needs to be done.

Nigeria has not been short on goalkeeping talents over the years. One has no doubt that Nigeria's budding goalkeeping talents would rise up to the occasion. In the years past, Nigeria has been blessed with superb goalkeepers. One remembers: Cyril Okosieme; Eyo Essien; Emmanuel Okala, alias "Man Mountain"; Zion Ogunfeimi; the late Best Ogedegbe of blessed memory; Agwo Nnaji; Raymond King; Baruwa; Peter Rufai, alias "Dodo Mayana"; Patrick Okala,alias "Obi Agu"; Aloy Agu; Wilfred Agbonivbare; Christian Obi; Willy "the cat" Okpara; Ike Shorunmu; Akanji; Austine Ejide; Vincent Enyeama; and of course all the other beautiful and great goalkeepers who cannot be remembered due to limitations of the human memory.

Finally, one uses this medium to wish Carl Ikeme, a very happy and successful retirement from active soccer. I have no doubt in my mind that like the true trojan he is, he would succeed in whatever life's endeavour he engages in subsequently. Most gratifying to yours sincerely, is that he is gradually getting over his sickness- thanks be to Almighty God!!!! He rates according to yours sincerely, as one of the five best goalkeepers to have stood between the sticks for Nigeria, in all forty-two years, one has observed the Super Eagles of Nigeria! We wish him well in his further life!


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "RUSSIA 2018" !!!!!