BY APESIN ADEMOLA.
Super Eagles former goalkeeper Carl Ikeme will on Monday night determine the fate of teams that survived the third round of the 2018/19 English FA Cup (officially known as The Emirates FA Cup).
The ex-Wolves keeper will conduct the competition’s fourth round draw along with Robbie Keane, ex-Wolves and Tottenham forward, immediately the last third round fixture between Wolves and Liverpool is concluded at Molineux Stadium.
Ikeme, who spent his entire career at Wolves and made 207 appearances for the club, played a prominent role in the Super Eagles between 2015 and 2016 until his battle with acute leukaemia truncated his career for club and country.
Although Ikeme was eligible to play for England as well, he chose to identify with his fatherland and waited for eight years between his first call-up to the national team before his debut against Tanzania on September 5, 2015 in a qualifier for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Dar-es-Salam, which ended goalless.
Ikeme held on to the No 1 position and featured three times for the Super Eagles in the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but missed the final tournament in Russia due to his health crisis, which coach Gernot Rohr described as his “greatest regret.”
Wolves had announced on July 6, 2017 that Ikeme had been diagnosed of acute leukaemia during a pre-season check-up. As a result, he couldn’t feature in the club’s triumph in the English Championship that season, which led to their return to the English topflight.
Last July 27, Ikeme announced his retirement from football at age 32 on medical grounds. In his honour, Wolves’ new keeper Rul Patricio left the No 1 jersey vacant and chose No 11 instead.
In the English FA fourth round draw, Sheffield United will go into the hat as the lowest ranked club left in the oldest recognised football tournament in the world. This is the 138th edition of the tournament.
The “big” teams still on course include defending champions Chelsea, last season’s runners-up Manchester United, the most successful club in the competition Arsenal and Premier League title holders Manchester City.
Leicester City were the biggest exit in the third round. The 2015/16 Premier League champions were eliminated by League 2 side Newport County.
The other Premier League teams that failed so far are: Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Fulham and Huddersfield Town.
The fourth round matches will come up between January 25 and 28.
Fourth round draw numbers
1. Bolton Wanderers
5. Sheffield Wednesday or Luton Town
6. Manchester United
8. Tottenham Hotspur
9. Doncaster Rovers
10. Newcastle United or Blackburn Rovers
12. Crystal Palace
13. Derby County or Southampton
14. Accrington Stanley
15. Bristol City
16. Newport County
17. Oldham Athletic
18. Shrewsbury Town or Stoke City
20. Manchester City
21. Brighton & Hove Albion
22. West Ham United
25. Queens Park Rangers
28. AFC Wimbledon
29. West Bromwich Albion
31. Wolverhampton Wanderers or Liverpool
32. Swansea City