What you need to know:
- FKF said that the 30-year-old midfielder "will forever occupy a special place in the history of Kenyan football and the national team."
Football Kenya Federation on Monday thanked former Harambee Stars captain, Victor Wanyama, for his "immense contribution, dedication and service to the national football team."
In a statement following Wanyama's announcement that he was retiring from the national team to focus on his club career, FKF said that the 30-year-old midfielder "will forever occupy a special place in the history of Kenyan football and the national team."
"His retirement from international football is the finish line of perhaps the most influential
national team career of recent times. Most importantly, he will forever remain one of Kenya’s greatest international players, who offered so much to Kenya over the last 15 years, including captaining the team during the 2019 AFCON tournament," Barry Otieno, the FKF CEO said in a statement.
"He is a rare gem, a special talent that this administration is most privileged and honored to have worked so closely with. 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."
"The federation remains cognizant of Victor’s contribution to Kenyan football and believes the country will continue to benefit from his leadership and experience in the future. The door will always be open for Victor to contribute to the development of the game and the national team.
Wanyama's last appearance for Harambee Stars 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.
“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,” Wanyama said while announcing his retirement.
“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 and 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.
Nation Sport understands new Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat had contacted Wanyama with a view of having him back in the national team set up, but the combative midfielder turned down the call up ahead of the next month's Fifa 2022 World Cup qualifier double header against Mali.