Mikel, Ighalo retire from international football

Super Eagles’ captain, Mikel Obi, and striker Odion Ighalo have retired from international football.

Obi, 32, made the disclosure via his Instagram handle @mikel_john_obi on Thursday, after leading the side to the third place of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

Obi made his debut at AFCON in the 2006 tournament hosted by Egypt.

“Egypt is a country where I 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,” he wrote on his page.

The 32-year-old, who began his career in 2003 and won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, added, “My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I am grateful to the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skills 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, we’ve done an amazing job by 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.”

Ighalo, whose goal helped Nigeria beat Tunisia 1-0 in the third-place match on Wednesday night, informed Coach Gernot Rohr of his decision before leaving to join his club in China immediately after the game.

Confirming his retirement, Rohr said, “He has been very strong for us. And it is sad that he wants not to continue. But the door always is open for him any time.”

Ighalo, something of a late bloomer, made his senior debut for Nigeria in 2015 as the Eagles lost 1-0 to Uganda in a friendly. He made 35 appearances for Nigeria, scoring 16 goals.


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