SUPER Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has been ruled out of the return leg of the African Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt in Alexandra tomorrow after being ruled out ill with a stomach upset by team doctors.
Ikeme, who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the English Championship, manned goal in the first leg but has missed the last two training sessions. He has subsequently decided not to risk himself for the game with team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran, confirming that the goalkeeper will be absent..
Dr Gyaran said: “After the game last Friday, Carl has been struggling with some stomach upset and it has not allowed him train with the rest of the squad. He is stable but needs a lot of rest to be back in 100% shape for the kind of high profile game that we have on Tuesday. and considering the amount of travel involved as well, it is best we give him a break.”
Meanwhile, Coach Samson Siasia has allayed fears that the absence of the goalkeeper will hamper the team’s chances of victory Tuesday’s return leg in Alexandria. He added that he has two standby goalkeepers, who are fully capable of stepping in and doing a great job.
Siasia said: “We will surely miss Carl, but the good thing with our team is that we have capable replacements in every department. Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are still here and any one of these two will help us get the job done in Alexandria.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) has deducted points from Nigeria, Egypt and Tanzania, all members of Group G, following the withdrawal of Chad from the ongoing qualification race. Chad was due to travel to Tanzania for the fourth match in the group but instead made the announcement of a shocking withdrawal, citing financial constraints.
Subsequently, Caf swiftly applied its rules in conformity with Article 61 of the regulations of the competition. Following the deduction, Egypt still leads the group with four points, while Nigeria have two. Tanzania have a point.
A Caf spokesman said: “If a team withdraws from the qualifying phase organised in groups, all its results shall be annulled (points, scored and conceded goals). Consequently, the three matches of Chad of Group G are cancelled and the results will not be taken into consideration.”
Caf further said that in accordance its rules, any group reduced to three teams following the withdrawal of a team will have only the group winner qualifying for the final tournament. Furthermore, the Chadian Football Federation has been fined $20,000 and also barred from participating in the next edition of the tournament in conformity with Article 59 of the regulations of the competition.