Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi, has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 32 after a successful career with the national team.
Mikel’s announcement comes less than 24 hours after Nigeria won bronze at the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt following Super Eagles 1-0 win over Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on Wednesday night.
The 32-year-old midfielder took to his Instagram page on Thursday afternoon to break the news, saying he started his career for Nigeria in Egypt and it is historic for him to announce his retirement in the same country.
He said it was time to give the younger ones the opportunity to excel.
Below is a post shared by Mikel Obi (@mikel_john_obi) 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!
The 32-year-old midfielder made 89 appearances for his country between 2005 and 2019, scoring six times.
Mikel played for Nigeria in the past two World Cups and helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
He was part of the team that finished third at the 2006 and 2010 Nations Cups.
He made two appearances for his country at the ongoing tournament in Egypt as the Super Eagles sealed a third-place finish on Wednesday.
A finalist with the youth side at the under-20 World Cup in 2005, the former Chelsea player won the silver ball as the tournament’s second-best player behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
He was also one of Nigeria’s three over-age players as the African side won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.