Kenyan international Victor Wanyama on Monday announced his retirement from international football.
Announcing the shocking news via his social media pages, the former Harambee Stars captain Wanyama said it is time to pass the mantle to the next crop of players.
The last time the midfielder played for Harambee was against Comoros on November 15, 2020 in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
His decision comes after he was stripped off the team captaincy by former coach Jacob "Ghost" Mulee and the mantle handed to Al Duhail striker Michael Olunga after Harambee Stars' 1-1 draw against Uganda during their opening match of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on September 2.
“Growing up it was always my dream to represent my country. With a great deal of pride, I can say that I have been fortunate to live my dream. From making my debut against Nigeria to captaining the team in the African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, the past 14 years have gone beyond what I ever thought possible,” said the statement from the 30-year-old Montreal Impact midfielder.
“But all good things must come to an end eventually. After a long consideration I have made the really difficult decision to retire from international football. I hope to return one day to the federation and off the field, but until then I will still be Harambee Stars' biggest supporter,” he further said.
Wanyama, who has played for English Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, as well as Scottish giants Celtic among others, is one of the most experienced players to have ever featured for the country.
He left Tottenham Hotspur to join Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact in a three- and-a-half year deal in March 2020.
The midfielder had failed to nail a starting berth at Tottenham following the exit of Mauricio Pochettino, who was replaced by Jose Mourinho (now AS Roma coach) after making just four appearances for Spurs in all competitions.
He made 97 appearances for Spurs during his three-and-a-half year stay at the club having been signed by Pochettino from Southampton.
His elder brother, Mcdonald Mariga was also part of the national team, while his younger sister, Mercy Wanyama, features for the national women's basketball team fondly referred to as Kenya Lionesses.
Wanyama, who was capped 60 times, made his international debut in 2007, replacing Dennis Oliech as captain in 2013. He led Stars at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Since Jacob Mulee was appointed the national team coach on October 21,2020, Wanyama was left out on a number of occasions including friendly matches. He was not called up for the first two matches of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.