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Mixed reactions after Victor Wanyama hangs his boots

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango | September 29th 2021
Victor Wanyama during Harambee Stars' AFCON Qualifier against Zambia at Nyayo Stadium on September 6, 2015.[Dennis Okeyo, Standard]

After ending his 14-year stint with the national team, former Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama’s retirement has elicited mixed reactions.

The 30-year-old who began his career with the national team in 2007 against Nigeria before being elevated to national team captain in 2013 announced his retirement from international football on Monday.

His retirement did not come as shock to football stakeholders especially after he was recently snubbed by the national team management.

He quit after he was dropped and striker Michael Olunga appointed the captain by former coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, who tendered his resignation after the World Cup qualifiers against Uganda and Rwanda earlier this month.

The last time Wanyama featured for Kenya was in the Afcon qualifiers played in November last year against Comoros which Harambee Stars lost 2-1.

However, his retirement brought up different opinions among fans where some congratulated him and others despised him for quitting ahead of crucial World Cup qualifying matches.

“Congratulations and happy retirement big Mac. You did your part and I am glad you are not selfish and giving up space for the younger generation to come up and push the mantle forward,” said Silas Okello, a Kisumu-based fan.

“How I wish the government of Kenya could emulate what Yoweri Museveni did when Dennis Onyango retired from the Ugandan national team. We need to maximise Wanyama’s expertise especially after being Kenya’s most successful professional footballer,” Kevin Omollo said.

“He is a coward. Why quit while we are in the midst of World Cup qualifiers? Was he afraid of Michael Olunga’s growth and the young upcoming generation? He should have used the snub by Mulee as a motivation and not as a way out,” said Martin Shikuku, an AFC Leopards fan.

“Victor Wanyama carried the country’s flag with pride and honour, wishing him a happy retirement,” said Kevin Wadunga.

Football Kenya Federation however released a statement thanking the former Harambee Stars captain for his immense contribution, dedication and service to the national football team.

“Whereas, Victor remained integral to the federation’s plans for the national team, Harambee Stars, FKF fully respects his decision to exit international football and wishes him all the best in his club career,” read part of the statement.

The development comes just before new head coach Engin Firat announces his provisional squad for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Mali next, set for next month.

“Football Kenya Federation wishes to thank former Harambee Stars Captain, Victor Wanyama, for his immense contribution, dedication and service to the national football team, Harambee Stars. Victor will forever occupy a special place in the history of Kenyan football and the national team.

“The federation remains cognisant of Victor’s contribution to Kenyan football,” FKF said in a statement.

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