Nigeria's Super Eagles have named Carl Ikeme as their unregistered 24th player in the World Cup after the goalkeeper was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last summer.
“Carl Ikeme will be our 24th player to the World Cup,” Gernot Rohr said before Nigera play England at Wembley. The German manager previously said Ikeme's absence "is my biggest regret" heading into the World Cup but with news of Ikeme's inclusion means he will be there in spirit to spur on his teammates.
Ikeme, 31, plays in goals for Wolves and underwent routine pre-season testing which revealed the disease. The club released a statement at the time with Wolves' Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple saying, “It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Wolves has been shocked and saddened to hear the news of Carl’s diagnosis."
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has revealed that Carl Ikeme will be part of Nigeria's squad at the 2018 World Cup, but as the unregistered twenty-fourth player. pic.twitter.com/r7iZL1bleE— Football Naija (@Football_Naija) 27 May 2018
Dalyrymple went on to say, "At the same time, we all know what a fighter and a competitor Carl is, and I have no doubt that he will take all of those attributes into this battle.
“Similarly, its goes without saying that Carl and his family will receive the full love and support that we at Wolves can provide – we are all with him every single step of the way towards a full recovery."
Nigeria play Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in what is one of the most difficult groups in the World Cup. They drew with DR Congo on Monday night with an experimental side ahead of the clash with England as another chance to experiment before they go to Russia.