The federation says they respect the move taken by the midfielder to exit international football and wishes him all the best in his club career
Football Kenya Federation has described Victor Wanyama as “a rare gem” after he decided to quit international football on Monday.
The 30-year-old midfielder, who currently turns out for CF Montreal in Major League Soccer, announced his retirement a few weeks after he was overlooked for the World Cup qualifiers against Uganda and Rwanda earlier this month.
His decision to hang up his boots also came after former Harambee Stars coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee stripped him of the armband and handed it to lead striker Michael Olunga.
FKF has thanked Wanyama, who had also turned out for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League in the past, for the immense services he rendered to the national team insisting he will always occupy a special place in the history of Kenyan football.
Wanyama’s place in history
“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,” read part of the statement signed by FKF CEO Barry Otieno and obtained by Goal.
“Wanyama 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.”
The statement continued: “He is a rare gem, a special talent that this administration is most privileged and honoured to have worked so closely with.
“Whereas Wanyama 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 Wanyama’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 Wanyama to contribute to the development of the game and the national team.”
‘With a great deal of pride’
On announcing his retirement, Wanyama said: “Growing up, it was always my dream to get the chance 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 at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, these past 14 years have gone beyond what I ever thought possible.
“We have shared great moments together, and I am proud to have been your captain and leader. But all good things must come to an end, and after long consideration, I have made the really difficult consideration to retire from international football.
“The time has come to hand it over to the next generation so that they can make their mark and help our country reach even greater heights.
“I hope to return one day to help the federation off the field, but until then, I will still be Harambee Stars’ biggest supporter and I will be cheering you guys from the sidelines.
“Thanks all for the support.”