Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng & the top five African players who prematurely retired from international football takes a look at some of the footballers from the continent who recently opted to stop representing their native countries for one reason and another
By Kent Mensah

Some decades back it was almost a taboo for an African star player to relinquish his position in a national team because of a dressing room issue or due to personal reasons. Although the status quo has changed since then, retirements still affect the stability and cohesion of national sides.

It is now not uncommon to see African players as young as 24 years old hang up their international boots prematurely for various reasons. Some of them have spats with national team coaches, others with the fans, third simply call it quits due to health problems. takes a look at five such African players, who chose to make themselves unavailable for selection in the national team.


The former Nice player was forced to retire from football at the age of 28. Fae suffered from phlebitis, which causes blood clots in the veins of the legs, and it proved to be his undoing as a footballer. He first experienced the symptoms of the disease in 2009, and in 2010 he was forced to play through pain until October. The Ivorian played more than 100 games for Nice and helped the club avoid relegation last season.

He retired in February 2012 with 37 games for Cote d’Ivoire to add to a short spell in England with Reading.

The rising star had his career cut short due to a tragic event ahead of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

The Togo team bus was caught in the crossfire in the Cabinda enclave where rebels were fighting government forces. Obilale, among other players, was wounded and became bed-ridden after sustaining severe injuries and bullet shots.

In a cruel ending to a promising career, the goalkeeper went through major surgery and now finds it difficult to walk without crutches.

The Al-Ahly player announced he will not play professional football again after witnessing the tragic clash between his club's and Al-Masry fans, who invaded the pitch after a surprise 3-1 win over the Cairo club in Port Said in February 2012.

The 29-year-old resigned alongside fellow national team partner Mohamed Aboutrika as a symbol of condemnation for the violence that resulted in at least 74 deaths. This came as a big blow to the Pharaohs and Al Ahly, which relied heavily on his influence on the pitch.

The German-born Ghanaian’s decision to quit international football came as a big shock to football in the African country.

The AC Milan player was one of the driving forces behind the Black Stars’ success at 2010 World Cup in South Africa and his retirement was a huge blow. Ghanaians subsequently tagged him as an ungrateful individual, stating that he used the national team as a stepping stone for his career.

Boateng, on the other hand, said that he finds it difficult to combine both club and national duty, and has since committed himself to AC Milan.

Asamoah Gyan is without a doubt Ghana’s star striker at the moment, but much to the dismay of the nation he decided to call it quits.

The Al-Ain striker has been the target of much abuse from the fans, following his penalty miss at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations that could have given the Black Stars hope to progress to the tournament’s final.

He went through a similar ordeal in a comparable situation at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the burden of criticism has seeming affected him. Gyan announced his retirement earlier this year, but left a door open for a return to the national set-up.

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