Retired goalkeeper Carl Onuoha Ikeme has shock his mind back to reaction that trailed the initial confirmation that he was suffering from leukaemia, and recounted how his wife broke down in tears when he gave her the news.
Ikeme, who retired from active football last month, despite getting a positive diagnosis of remission in his year-long battle with the blood cancer ailment, said he had never seen his wife as sad as she was when he broke the news to her.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers of England goalkeeper declared further that the biggest part of his regrets over the battle with leukaemia was that it stopped him from going to the World Cup with Nigeria.
Ikeme said missing the Mundial in Russia was hard for him to take, as he had been ruled out for the entire season after being diagnosed with leukaemia a few months to the kick-off.
However, Ikeme, who made 207 appearances for his boyhood club, Wolves, stressed that the most agonising moment of the saga was when he revealed the news of his diagnosis to his wife, who was then one-month pregnant.
“She was the first person I told. I was obviously upset, as you would be after that sort of news.
“I was in shock. I got back home and thought: ‘I need to tell Saba.’ I called her and I couldn’t get it out on the phone, but she knew something was up.
“I got back and Saba came in and I told her the news. She was nine months pregnant at the time, due next week. I’ve never seen her cry the way she cried. It was tough.
“No disrespect to Wolves, because I loved playing every minute for them, but the World Cup is a different stage.
“They’re the memories you have as a kid. So that was something that I’d knew I’d miss out on and never get the chance to do again
“The World Cup was probably a bit more difficult to take. The World Cup, to me, is the pinnacle of football.