By Tunde Eludini
The Nigeria national team captain, John Obi Mikel, has finally announced his retirement from international football.
Mikel, on his Instagram page on Thursday, said it was time to end his long and illustrious service to Nigeria, which he began right from the U-17 cadre, till he graduated to become the Super Eagles’ captain.
The 32-year old said he was ending his national career in the same country where it started.
He wrote: “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 National Team with Super Eagles.
“My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I am 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’ have 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 have shown me over the past 15 years.
“Mikel, am out!”
After the 2003 U-17 World Cup, Mikel represented the Nigeria under-20 team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and won the Silver Ball for the second-best player at the tournament (behind Lionel Messi) where Nigeria finished runner-up to Argentina.
He made his debut for the Nigeria senior team on 17 August 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1-0 friendly win over Libya.
Among other silverwares, Mikel was part of the 2013 AFCON winning team. He also led Nigeria to a bronze medal finish at the Rio Olympics.
On Wednesday, the Super Eagles won the bronze medal at the on-going AFCON championship.