Nigeria's Anichebe retires from international football

The Lagos-born striker has suffered a series of injuries over the past four seasons and believes the country's association has not stood by him the same way Everton has.
Everton striker Victor Anichebe has hit out at the Nigerian Football Federation and retired from international football at the age of just 25.

The forward has missed the first half of the last four Premier League seasons, sitting out nine games at the start of the current campaign, 15 in 2011-12, 14 in 2010-11, and 22 in 2009-10 after he was sidelined for the final 12 matches of 2008-09.


He spent four months out of action due to a groin injury suffered while on international duty with the Super Eagles in September 2011 and claims that his national association did not support him in his rehabilitation.

Since forcing his way back into the reckoning at Goodison Park, scoring six goals in 16 outings this season, he is keen to put the injuries behind him by concentrating on Everton.

"The best thing for me at the moment is to focus on club football," Anichebe told the BBC. "Without club football there is no international football and everyone at Everton was with me every step of the way during my injuries and rehabilitation and so I owe it to the club to manage myself correctly.

"I didn't feel that the Nigerian federation was there for me then in the same manner, which was especially disappointing given that I got the injury representing my country.

"But I don't blame anyone for this nor do I have any issues with anybody from the NFF or Stephen Keshi, our coach. He has done a fantastic job and is building a team that Nigerians can be proud of."

Anichebe missed out on the Nigeria squad that won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in February, which cemented a spot in the upcoming Confederations Cup in Brazil, but he insists that he was still delighted to witness his country's success and hinted that he could return to the international fold in the future.

"A lot of people ask me if I was sad that I wasn't part of the Nations Cup-winning team, but I couldn't have been happier because it brought so much happiness to Nigerians especially after there has been so much tragedy," Anichebe added. "I know football cannot take away some of the pain it has caused but it was good for the country. I am just like the 170 million Nigerians out there, I am a fan obviously as well as a player.

"If I had gone would I be playing for my club at the level I am now? Perhaps not, so it worked out well for both sides.

"The time is just not right for me to resume my international career as of yet, but I would certainly love to represent my country in the none-too-distant future."

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