By Salawudeen Olawale
Uganda Cranes captain, Geoffrey Massa has announced his retirement from international football.
Massa, who recently led the Cranes to Afcon 2017 qualification for the first time since 1978 ending a 39-year jinx, revealed that it is the right time to call it quits after an illustrious career.
“It is with immense pride that I announce my retirement from the national football team after representing the country for 12 years,” he stated in his letter to Fufa on Wednesday.
“I have had an incredible career and I am thankful for each and every moment for my time with the Uganda Cranes.”
Massa made his debut for Uganda in 2005 against the Ghana Black Stars in the Fifa 2006 World Cup qualifier in Kumasi.
“As a teenager, I fulfilled my childhood dream after making my debut against Ghana on September 4th, 2005. I feel very fortunate in that my career thereafter took me on a journey I could only have dreamed of.”
“Although I experienced a couple of low moments during my time with the Cranes, I feel very lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my international football career.”
He announced his arrival on the big stage with a brace and penalty assist in a 3-0 win over Lesotho in September 2006 in the Afcon 2008 qualifiers and has since played a key role in Uganda’s ambitious quest to qualify for Afcon and the Fifa World Cup over the years.
Massa created incredible memories at Namboole Stadium but most notably on June 16, 2012 when the Cranes stunned Congo 4-0 to overturn a 3-1 loss in the Afcon 2013 qualifiers when his goal burst the net and the ball went through much to the shock of many a fan.
“I am proud to have played over 80 games for the Cranes, scored over 30 goals for the team but most important of all, to have captained the team to its first ever Africa Nations Cup appearance since 1978.”
“The experience of representing my country at the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon was truly memorable, while the feeling after winning three CECAFA Challenge Cup titles and becoming the all-time Nations/World Cup qualifying top scorer with 14 goals was quite satisfying.”
“I want to thank coaches Muhammed Abbas, Laszlo Csaba, Bobby Williamson and Micho Sredojevic, who believed in me and offered me the platform to reach my full potential.”
“I would want to particularly thank the former Uganda captains Ibrahim Sekagya and David Obua for helping me develop into the player I became.”
Massa is Uganda’s all-time goalscorer in Afcon/World Cup qualifiers with 12 goals and all have been scored at Namboole, never an away goal. Obua held this record until Massa’s brace against Guinea in 2014.
Massa, who is a free agent at the moment, will continue to pursue his club career.
Massa’s goal scoring record in Afcon/World Cup qualifiers
Vs Lesotho (Afcon 2008 qualifiers) September 2, 2006 – brace
Vs Benin (2010 World Cup and Afcon qualifiers) October 12, 2008 – brace
Vs Guinea Bissau (Afcon 2012 qualifiers) June 11, 2011 – one goal
Vs Congo (Afcon 2013 qualifiers) June 16, 2012 – one goal
Vs Zambia (Afcon 2013 qualifiers) October 13, 2012 – one goal
Vs Madagascar (Afcon 2015 qualifier) May 31, 2014 – one goal
Vs Mauritania (Afcon 2015 qualifier) July 19, 2014 – one goal
Vs Guinea (Afcon 2015 qualifiers) September 10, 2014 – brace
Vs Togo (2018 World Cup qualifiers) November 15, 2016 – one goal