Retirement Tsunami Hits Super Eagles As Mikel, Ighalo Quit National team

Retirement Tsunami Hits Super Eagles As Mikel, Ighalo Quit National team
0 comments, 18/07/2019, by , in Football

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Nigerians’ joy of celebrating Super Eagles third-place finish at the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Egypt seem to have been cut short as two key players of the team have quit international football at ‘young’ ages, can report.

Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi and forward Odion Jude Ighalo have called it quit with the national team, shortly after winning bronze in Egypt.

Chelsea icon John Obi Mikel has taken to social media to confirm that he has decided to retire from international football at the age of 32.

The central midfielder debuted for the Super Eagles in 2005 after starring for the U17 and U20 sides, and featured in two World Cups 2014 and 2018, and five Africa Cup of Nations most recently in Egypt.

Mikel was an influential member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 2013 AFCON and also won bronze with the Dream Team VI at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Explaining his decision to retire, the new Trabzonspor signing says he wants to give a chance to up-and-coming players. 

Mikel posted on Instagram : ”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 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.

”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. Mikel am out!”

In his 14-year career with the Super Eagles that started against Libya in 2005, Mikel scored six international goals.

On the other hand, Ighalo, the former Watford striker is expected to make a formal announcement anytime from now.

The 30-year-old scored the winner against the Carthage Eagles in the third-place match but limped off in the 44th minute following a knee injury.

He made his Super Eagles debut under the tutelage of Daniel Amokachi in 2015 and later played his first competition with the senior team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He came under huge criticisms when Nigeria were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup after missing a glaring chance against Argentina which could have given the Super Eagles a 2-1 lead.

But the former Watford forward bounced back to become the highest goal scorer for the 2019 AFCON tournament qualifiers, notching up seven goals in the process

Ighalo is now a strong contender for the Golden Boot award at AFCON with five goals as Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Algeria’s Adam Ounas are closest with the three goals.

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