UNCAPPED: Ikeme aspires to play for Nigeria
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS’ goalkeeper Carl Ikeme is optimistic his good domestic form will lead to an international call-up for Nigeria. The Wolves shot-stopper has been in fine fettle this season; the 26-year-old has managed to cement his place in the Championship side.
Ikeme was first regarded as potential Super Eagles player six years ago, when he was included in former coach Bertie Vogts’ 37-man provisional squad, which also included Aston Villa’s Gabby Agbonlahor and West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie. However, Ikeme failed to make the final cut.
Stephen Keshi, the current Nigerian boss, seems ready to give Ikeme a second chance, with the coach seeking to find a permanent successor to keeper Vincent Enyeama, who has spent the last 11 years as the west African team’s number one.
“A call-up by Nigeria is the next step really - that's the next level,” Ikeme said.
“If the call came I would be interested in it, obviously. The Nigeria thing came up a few years ago and so everyone has associated me with Nigeria, but I've not decided on anything.
“It's just a case of waiting and seeing how my career goes, really. I'll just see where I end up, but if Nigeria did call me, I'd seriously consider it. My dad's side of the family are all from Nigeria.
“It seems like a long way off for me at the minute. Obviously with football, you never know. Things can change in an instant,” the Wolves keeper added.
Nigeria kick off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on January 21 against Burkina Faso. The Super Eagles have won the tournament – founded in 1957 – twice, in 1980 and 1994.