Captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from international football after the team’s third-place finish in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which ends on Friday in Egypt.
Mikel, a key member of the Super Eagles since he made his debut appearance against Libya in August 2005 battled with injuries in Egypt and was limited to just two games during the group stage, against Burundi and Madagascar.
During his stint with the national team, Mikel played in two FIFA World Cup tournaments and four Africa Cup of Nations where he won the title in 2013 and a bronze medal in 2019.
Mikel, who made the announcement in an Instagram post on Thursday thanked all Nigerians and his supporters for the trust and love shown to him during the 15 years he spent serving the country.
“Egypt is a country where I’ve 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’m grateful to 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’s 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’ve shown me over the past 15 years,” the former Chelsea and Tianjin Teda midfielder said.
During the AFCON campaign, Mikel secured a permanent switch to Turkish Super Lig outfit, Trabzonspor where he will play in the 2019-20 season alongside compatriots, Ogenyi Onazi and Anthony Nwakaeme.