Micheal Azira has joined the growing list of players to end their careers with the national team after announcing his retirement from Cranes duty.
Football256 understands that while Azira has not made his retirement public, he has made the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) aware that he will not be taking any further part with the Cranes as he bows out with only 10 national caps.
The 33-year-old joins a growing list of Cranes players who have hung up their boots in the past week including former captain Denis Onyango and defender Hassan Wasswa.
Azira was handed his Cranes debut by former coach Lazslo Czaba against Botswana in 2006.
At the time, he had just earned promotion to the SC Villa senior team from the club’s academy side and was still a student at Old Kampala SS.
Shortly after his debut, Azira earned a move to the United States where he has enjoyed a long senior career to date featuring for clubs like Seattle Sounders, Montreal Impact, Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire and New Mexico United.
And while he flourished in the USA, the midfielder often turned down Cranes call ups if there was no guarantee that he would play.
But in 2016, Azira – then 29 years old and playing for Seattle Sounders in the Major League Soccer – adhered to the calls from then Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic.
And on November 12, he made his home coming against Congo Brazzaville in a World Cup qualifier coming on for the last 30 minutes at Namboole.
Azira was then included on Micho’s final 23-man squad that represented the country at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.
He was also part of Sebastien Desabre’s squad that reached the last 16 at the 2019 AFCON.
Azira’s final bow with the Cranes was against Malawi in the 1-0 loss that ended Uganda’s quest for a third AFCON finals appearance.