Former Chelsea, Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel announces retirement from international football

By Waweru Titus: Thursday, July 18th 2019 at 19:22 GMT +3 | Football
Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Third Place Play-Off - Tunisia v Nigeria - Al Salam Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - July 17, 2019, Nigeria fan inside the stadium before the match. [Reuters]

Former Chelsea and Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from international football.

His decision comes hours after Nigeria’s third-place AFCON triumph against Tunisia on Wednesday night.

Mikel broke the news on Instagram to confirm his exit from the Super Eagles. He played in two FIFA World Cup tournaments and four Africa Cup of Nations.

The renowned midfielder won the AFCON title in 2013 and a bronze medal in 2019.

"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.

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John Obi Mikel [Courtesy]

"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 posted on Instagram.

Obi Mikel joined Trabzonspor in the summer of 2019 on a two-year contract with the option of a further year.

Trabzonspor, formed in 1967, is a professional Turkish club located in the city of Trabzon, Turkey.

Odion Ighalo's early goal gave Nigeria a 1-0 win over Tunisia in their third-place playoff yesterday.

Ighalo, who is the tournament's top scorer with five goals, capitalised on a Tunisian defensive mix-up at the Al Salam Stadium.

It proved a costly blunder for Tunisia, who lost Sunday’s semi-final in extra time to Senegal in similar circumstances.

Nigeria have won the bronze medal at eight different Cup of Nations’ tournaments.

Algeria play Senegal in the Cup of Nations final in Cairo on Friday (tomorrow) at 10pm EAT.

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