Warriors captain Knowledge Musona has become the latest senior Zimbabwe national team player to announce his retirement from international football.
Khama Billiat, his partner in the Warriors attack for the last 11 years, made a similar announcement in November last year as the team was preparing for the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The 31-year-old Musona, who was captain at the Afcon in Cameroon, on Thursday took to Twitter to announce the end of his glittering career in the gold and green strip.
“It is with a heavy heart that I officially announce my retirement from national duty with our beloved national football team, the Warriors. It is a decision that I do not take lightly after representing our beloved country for 12 years, starting with my first appearance on the 3rd of March 2010, in a game versus South Africa. My time with the Warriors has been an incredible and rewarding journey that I am thankful to have had the opportunity to undertake, one that I only dreamt of achieving early on in my professional career. I will cherish every moment that I have spent as a member of the team,” Musona said.
He said he had decided to retire from international in order to focus on his club career. The ‘Smiling Assasin’, as Musona is affectionately known by the fans plays his club football in the Saudi Arabia Pro League for Al-Tai.
“I am retiring to concentrate on my career at the club level 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. I will forever look back with great pride on every occasion I represented Zimbabwe having played over 45 games for the team through international friendly matches, Cosafa Cup games, AFCON qualifiers and tournaments, and World Cup Qualifiers. Mostly, I take immense pride to have captained the team for nearly five years.
He added: “None of this would have been entirely possible without the support of several instrumental people, whom I wish to thank. Firstly, and foremost, I would like to thank the Lord Almighty for the love and blessings He showers me with each day of my life. Secondly, thank you to my wonderful family. I do not have enough words to thank you for your unwavering support and prayers. You are a priceless gift, greater than anything I can imagine. For the unending support received from ZIFA and the national team coaches (past and present) who believed in me and offered me the platform to reach my full potential throughout my career and as captain, I will always be grateful.”
Musona expressed his pride to have had the honour to not only played for the Warriors but also have had the honour to be entrusted with the national team captaincy during his international football career.
“Looking back over the years that I have proudly represented the Zimbabwe Warriors; I feel fortunate to have played alongside some outstanding players. A special thank you to all the former captains for helping me develop into the player I am today. To my current teammates, thank you for accepting me as your leader. Last but not least a massive and heartfelt thank you to all the supporters and fans that have carried me, supported, motivated me through this journey, and been by my side in all the challenges.”
Musona’s retirement comes at a time Zimbabwe is currently suspended from international football by Fifa due to government interference in the running of the game in the country.
He however says was hopeful local stakeholders would work together to get the local game back in the international football family.
“My hope, as is for many, is that those charged with the management of our beautiful game and its continuous development across all spheres work together for the greater good of our national team, our international and regional participation, and investment in up-and-coming talent that is abundant in our country. I look forward to others being afforded the opportunities that I have had to don the colours of the Warriors and successfully represent us on the world stage. I wish the Warriors all the best in the future as they continue carrying the flame for our country. I remain available for and close to the Warriors to assist in any capacity where I can,” Musona said.
During his national team career, Musona featured at three different Africa Cup of Nations tournaments at the 2017, 2019 and 2022 editions, which was the first time in the country’s history they qualified for three successive Afcons.
Overall, Musona scored 15 goals in 23 qualifying matches for Africa’s showpiece, being one of the standout performers of the recent Zimbabwe generation.
In total he scored 24 goals in 49 appearances for the Warriors in a career, spanning over a decade.