Super Eagles and Wolverhampton Wanderers first choice goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, has assured that he will recover in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against African champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Uyo in August.
Ikeme, 31, has been out of action since March after sustaining an injury ahead of the Super Eagles friendly against Senegal.
The injury kept him out of Wolves' remaining league games last season and the Super Eagles' 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa which they lost 2-0 in Uyo on June 10.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on the Nigeria Football Federation's official website, Ikeme also touched on the Nigeria's chances of qualifying for the 2019 AFCON, Cameroon's Confederations Cup outing and the August World Cup qualifier, his contract situation at Wolves and Nigerian-born players in England's U-20 World Cup winning squad.
"It's been slow and tough (his injury). It was something I was carrying for a long time. I couldn't play or train. It took more than a normal hamstring injury," Ikeme stated.
"I have been working hard every day with the physios and hopefully, I'm closer to getting back to training. We start our pre-season on Monday, so hopefully, I can start building up in training and hopefully, I can be available for our games and the Nigeria games coming up as well.
"Hopefully. I think I should be back to full fitness because I have not been able to do too much, but I've been strong. I have been training hard with the team in the last three weeks. I'm hoping I should be back to normal training in two weeks.
"I'm thankful. It's just disappointing that the injuries are coming at a time when we have the qualifiers. I'm excited though, that I’m returning to fitness and hopefully, I would have an injury-free season."
On his current contract issue with Wolverhampton Wanderers:"I just want to get back into training. We have a new manager coming in and hopefully, we can have a successful season."
On the Super Eagles' loss to South Africa:
"Yeah, I was watching the game. Like you said, it's our first competitive loss against them. There are still plenty of games to play to qualify for the Cup of Nations, so we are still confident that we will qualify. We have a good team and a good coach as well, so I'm sure we will be okay.
"It's a massive competition (AFCON). We didn't qualify for the last one, so our focus would be on that. It will require hard work and staying together as a group. We are confident that we will still qualify."
On Eagles' chances against Cameroon:"They are a top side you know. It's not going to be easy. They have played a lot together recently. They were in the Confederations Cup but we are confident going into the games. Like I said, it's not going to be easy."
On the chances of young Nigerian-born English players switching allegiance to Nigeria:"Yeah, I speak to them. Dominic Iorfa is still young, he is just 21; I'm sure with time, he would still play for Nigeria. He still has some time to make the decision. It is promising that we have a lot of players of Nigerian descent in England and across Europe and I think it's something we can tap into and help make our team stronger."
And on his vacation and what he has missed since his absence, Ikeme said:
"It's been quite nice (his vacation); you have no idea. I have had a week or two off. I've been receiving treatment. I have been coming up in a few days and I have enjoyed it and I'm more concentrated on getting fit and being healthy for the season."
"It's nice to travel. I miss being in Nigeria. I miss the energy that is there, you know and of course, the food. Hopefully, it won't be too long before I experience that again."Unblock the FIFA World Cup with ExpressVPN the #1 Trusted Name in VPN