Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.BackpagePix.

Musona retired when he was still loved by Zimbabwe fans - Mapeza

Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza said the time was right for Knowledge Musona to retire from international football.

The 31-year-old opted to call it a day last week after playing for the Warriors since 2010, a period in which he featured 51 times and scored 24 goals. It was a decision taken a few months after Khama Billiat also announced his exit from the national team.

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Mapeza, who recently worked with Musona in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, described the level of professionalism exhibited by the former captain as second to none.

"I think it was the right time for him to call it a day when he was still loved by the fans, but we'll miss him," the 50-year-old tactician told BBC Sport Africa.

"His contribution to Zimbabwean football was immense. I gave Knowledge his first cap in 2010 and he was one of those guys that you could tell was committed to his job. He was very disciplined, a fantastic player.

"From his generation, he's one of the best players I worked with, and his professionalism was second to none."

In his retirement statement, the Al-Tai FC forward stated he wants to focus on his club career.

"It is with a heavy heart that I officially announce my retirement from national duty with our beloved national football team, the Warriors," Musona said.

"It’s a decision that I did not take lightly after representing our beloved country for 12 years, starting with my first appearance on March 3, 2010, in a game against South Africa.

"I am retiring to concentrate on my career at the club and to afford my other teammates and rising stars the opportunity to represent our beloved country. Over the course of my football career with the Warriors, I have been truly blessed in both the low moments and many wonderful highlights."

At club level, the striker has featured for the South African heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs, Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim, and Anderlecht before opting to go to Saudi Arabia to play for his current team.