Emma Jemegah, Cairo
Two Nigerian internationals, Captain John Obi Mikel and Nigeria’s fourth-time leading goals scorer, Odion Ighalo, have announced their retirement from the senior national team, the Super Eagles.
Mikel, writing on his Instagram page, on Thursday, announced his retirement from international football.
The 32-year-old who just joined Trap in the Turkish league, said it was time for him to bow out of the team and let the young ones take over.
Sharing a photo of himself in the national jersey, Mikel Obi wrote: “Egypt is a country where I started and have finished my national career.
“In 2006, I played my first official championship for my country. (The) 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 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’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,” he said while thanking Nigerians for their support, trust and love shown him in the last 15 years.
Ighalo, on his part, took to his whatsapp handle to announce he was quitting the national team moments after scoring his fifth Africa Cup of Nations goal in Egypt to lead the Super Eagles to finish third in the championship.
According to Osasu Obayiuwana, a Nigerian BBC reporter, Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr stopped Ighalo from announcing his planned retirement before the third place match against Tunisia on Wednesday.