Ugandan football has produced talented players down the years, but few, have ever matched Massa’s drive, consistency or commitment at national level
Cranes captain Geoffrey Massa has retired from international football.
The 31-year old striker has decided to call time on his remarkable Cranes career, almost three months after leading the national football team to its first ever Africa Nations Cup appearance since 1978.
“I have decided to retire from the national team after consulting with my family and I believe it’s the right time to start a new chapter,” Massa said as he broke his retirement decision to New Vision on phone on Tuesday.
Massa, who made his international debut in the 2-0 defeat to Ghana on September 4, 2005 in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, retires with the honour of being Uganda’s all-time Nations/World Cup qualifying top scorer on 12 goals.
“It has been a wonderful experience for me and I am grateful to have served my country at the best of my abilities. I will make a formal communication when I arrive in the country tomorrow (today),” Massa stated.
Although Massa has decided to bring to an end a 12- year career littered with immeasurable success and setbacks, he plans to continue with his club career.
The former Police, El Masry, El Shams, Jomo Cosmos, Amatuks, Yenicami, Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka FC striker is still in negotiations with potential suitors in Europe and the Middle East.
Ugandan football has produced talented players down the years, but few, have ever matched Massa’s drive, consistency or commitment at national level.
Although his efficiency in front of goal for the Cranes has divided opinion over the years, Massa retires among the longest serving strikers this country has ever had in a career that registered over 80 caps.
When Massa singlehandedly catapulted the Cranes with a brace and penalty assist for a convincing 3-0 win over Lesotho on September 2, 2006, few people had heard of him and even fewer would have thought he would have had what it takes to help the nation gain the upper hand in the 2008 Nations Cup qualifying campaign.
But thanks to Egyptian coach Mohammed Abbas, Massa was offered the opportunity lead the Cranes attack, one he justifiably deserved and took full command of even under subsequent coaches Laszlo Csaba, Bobby Williamson and Micho Sredojevic.
Aside from his match-winning display in the 2-1 win against Nigeria’s Super Eagles on June 2, 2007, Massa treated Cranes faithful to some distinctive memories at Namboole Stadium in subsequent qualifiers.
Against Benin, during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers on October 12, 2008, Massa’s second half headers proved redemptive after the Squirrels had taken a first half lead through star striker Razak Omotoyossi.
On June 16, 2012, during the 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers, Massa stunned fans and Congo Brazzaville after his goal for Cranes third in the 4-0 win over the central Africans tore through the net.
In the subsequent qualifiers, the concern was that he seemed slightly off the pace and just a touch short of the strutting footballer many glorified.
But when Guinea came around on September 10, 2014 during the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers, the hunted became the hunter.
He produced a display of such instinct it was hard to believe anyone could ever have seriously doubted him. His two strikes against the West Africans in a game played under floodlights offered Cranes a chance of squeezing through to the finals on the final day.
Although that campaign ended just like the other had done, Massa’s biggest moment was coincidentally saved for his last campaign with the team.
After being appointed Cranes captain in 2015, Massa guided Cranes to the Nations Cup finals in Gabon.
“This was my dream. Playing at the Nations Cup is every players dream. I am proud to have captained the team to this historic achievement,” he told New Vision after the 1-0 win over Comoros last year.