SPORTS

End of an era as Mikel calls time on Nigeria career

• Ighalo also mulls international retirement

After a distinguished career that spanned 14 years, Super Eagles Captain, John Obi Mikel has decided to quit international football, with the game against Madagascar at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt being his last match for Nigeria.

Mikel, who scored six goals in over 85 matches for Nigeria, took to Instagram to announce his decision to quit international football.

The midfielder, who started his career in Jos, Plateau State, played for Nigeria from the Under-17 level to the Super Eagles with which he won two bronze medals and a gold medal at the African Nations Cup.

The 32-year-old midfielder also won a silver medal at the U-20 World Cup in 2005 and a bronze medal at the Brazil 2016 Olympic Games.

Fittingly, Mikel chose Egypt, the country where he started his senior career, as the venue to end it.

In the Instagram message, Mikel said: “Egypt is a country where I have started and have finished my national career. In 2006, I played my first official championship for my country. 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for the national team with Super Eagles.

“My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I am grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible National and International career.

“At the age of 32, it is time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019.

“Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you have shown me over the past 15 years.”

Meanwhile, Odion Ighalo, who is the leading scorer in the on-going African Cup of Nations, is also contemplating quitting the national team.

The 30-year-old is expected to make a formal announcement on his international retirement soon.

Ighalo scored five goals in Nigeria’s AFCON 2019 campaign in Egypt and is in contention for the competition’s golden boot.

According to reports, the player is stalling on the announcement until after the tournament, but his inner circles had been kept in the loop about his decision to quit.

Ighalo has been Head Coach, Gernot Rohr’s, first-choice striker.

As reported from guardian

Categories: SPORTS

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