Nigerian international goalkeeper Carl Ikeme who plays for second tier English side Wolverhampton Wanderers has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia, the club announced.
The 31-year-old England-born goalkeeper — capped 10 times — returned “abnormal blood tests” during pre-season testing and further checks confirmed the diagnosis.
“It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Wolves has been shocked and saddened to hear the news of Carl’s diagnosis,” said Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple.
“That relates to both players and staff as Carl has been at the club for a very long time and remains such an integral personality within the group.
“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.”
Ikeme — who has been with Wolves for his entire career, making more than 200 appearances since 2003 although he has spent spells out on loan — has received plenty of support both in England in Nigeria.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has backed the Wolves goalkeeper to beat the ailment.
“The Nigerian football fraternity and indeed the world, pray for @Carl_Ikeme as he faces this tough but not impossible journey. We believe,” Pinnick said via Twitter.
“We believe this strength will see @Carl_Ikeme through. Stay strong @Carl_Ikeme and have faith. You will beat this like a champion.
“As devastating as this is, we also know @Carl_Ikeme possesses the fighting spirit associated with Nigerians. We are behind Carl completely.”
NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi promised the Nigerian football family will rally round the player in his difficult period. Read more