Nigeria could be facing a goalkeeper crisis ahead of their Cameroon 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash against South Africa in Uyo on June 5 after English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers cast doubt over Carl Ikeme’s fitness.
The second-tier league ends on May 7 and Wolves manager Paul Lambert said on Monday that Carl Ikeme, who sustained a hamstring while on international duty with the Super Eagles in London last month, could be out for the rest of the season.
According to Punch, the 30-year-old British-born keeper, who has played 31 times for the struggling Wolves in all competitions this term, was injured ahead of the Eagles’ friendly match against Senegal in London on March 24, forcing Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr to give South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi the nod to start the game, which ended 1-1.
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“I’m not sure if he’ll be back this season, it’s not one where I’m thinking ‘he’s going to make it’. I’m not sure,” Lambert was quoted by Expressandstar as saying on Monday.
Ikeme may not recover from injury in time for the Bafana fixture, and Rohr, who seems not convinced that Chippa United custodian Akpeyi and IfeanyiUbah’s first choice Ikechukwu Ezenwa are good enough for top games, has reportedly revived his interest in Lille star keeper Vincent Enyeama.
The German manager’s move to lure Enyeama out of international retirement last year was marred with controversy.
The veteran keeper surprisingly called time on international football in October 2015 after fallen out with former Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh, following the announcement of Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa as the new captain of the national team.
“I am no more available for international duties,” the most-capped Nigeria player wrote on Instagram.
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“I want to say thank you to every Nigerian fan and supporter worldwide. It’s been the most trying period of my life but I know that Nigerians are there for me and God is with me. God bless NIGERIA.”
Rohr, who was employed in August last year, said the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner frustrated his efforts to have him back in the national team as the 34-year-old refused to take his phone calls.
The former Niger manager claimed that he tried reaching Enyeama when the Eagles had a goalkeeper crisis before their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria last year, but Enyeama failed to take his calls.
“When we had crisis on our hands after Carl Ikeme’s injury, I called him (Enyeama) over 10 times and he never responded nor called back,” Rohr said.
But Enyeama fired back, saying the 63-year-old former Gabon coach lied against him.
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