Cyril C. NwokejiFriday, August 4, 2017


Carl "fantabulous" Ikem

he news of the ailment of the Super Eagles' number 1 goalkeeper: Carl "Fantabulous" Ikeme, certainly came to the Nigerian football fraternity as a rude shock; not only from the point of view of his life - most importantly, but from the point of view of the coming challenges facing the Super Eagles, in the World cup eliminator. Carl Ikeme, has no doubt been sorely missed in the most recent Super Eagles' matches. There certainly exists a considerable gap between the standards of Carl Ikeme and the substitute Super Eagles' goalkeepers. This gap in goalkeeping standards is most considerable to Nigerians, considering the next opponent of the Super Eagles' in the World cup eliminator: the" Indomitable Lions" of Cameroun! Any how Nigerians have a way of surmounting obstacles and certainly this latest challenge would please God be surmounted.

My opinion on the difference in standards between Carl Ikeme and the other Super Eagles' goalkeepers is not meant to castigate or denigrate the other goalkeepers, but to challenge them to raise their standards of performance! They should view my comments as a clarion call to up their game and fill correctly the large shoes left by the temporary absence of Carl Ikeme. Carl Ikeme did it when Vincent Enyeama left the Super Eagles, they can do it too!

The young man, Carl Ikeme, impressed Nigerians as Super Eagles' keeper, from the very onset. He was called up by the then Super Eagles' Coach: Sunday Oliseh, as understudy to the then Super Eagles' number 1 keeper and skipper: Vincent Enyeama. But providence entrusted him with a starting place in his debut match for Nigeria, as a consequence of the indisposition of Vincent Enyeama. He didn't disappoint Nigerians, even in his very first match for the Super Eagles. As a matter of fact, his goalkeeping heroics, won the Super Eagles a point, in a match they should have lost, considering the disparities in standards of performance of both teams. The Super Eagles were a shadow of themselves that day and Carl Ikeme helped salvage one point for Nigeria! In Belgian local parlance, he was a keeper that won the point for Nigeria that day; and even on subsequent match days! He was instrumental to Nigeria defeating Zambia, in Ndola, in the first match of the World cup eliminator.

Yours sincerely had the opportunity of watching him live, in Brussels, in October 2015, in the friendly match against Cameroun. Yours sincerely got the impression of a talented, calm, confident, goalkeeper, who gently marshalled his defence line for the duration of the match. Of course not to talk of his charisma! Certainly a handsome gentleman colossus standing between the sticks for the Super Eagles of Nigeria!

Nigerians wish Carl Ikeme well in this latest challenge of his. Please God, he would recover and stage a come back to soccer; and certainly, would please God, be one of the personalities that would propel the Super Eagles to greater heights, while standing between the sticks for the Super Eagles, in Russia 2018, at the FIFA World cup touranment!

Nigerians love him, wish him well and certainly pray for his speedy recovery!