Indian football: Anas Edathodika announces retirement

Indian Centre-Back and Kerala Blasters player Anas Edathodika has retired from the Indian national team. The 31-year-old defender took to social media to announce his decision.

Anas played just four minutes in India’s Asian Cup match against Bahrain on Monday before picking up an injury on his leg and had to be substituted.

On Tuesday, the defender took to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to announce his retirement.

“It comes with a very heavy heart today to announce my retirement from Indian national football team. It’s been a very hard decision to take and accept. I love to play more years at my best, but I think it’s the time to step down and give opportunities to youngsters who can perform better.

It took 11 years to break into the national team and playing for the national team is the top achievement in my career; although the journey was short. Each and every time I tried to give more than 100 percent for the team. I was so disappointed to pick up an injury in the opening minutes and it will hurt me forever.

I just want to say a huge thanks to the coach Stephen Constantine for believing in me and giving me the opportunity and I wish you good luck for the future. Also thanks to all the coaching staffs, teammates, the fans and who all have supported me throughout my journey for the national team. I have been blessed to play for my country, with some of the best players. My heart will forever embrace the feeling of walking through the tunnel and out onto the field donning the national jersey with my brothers. @sandesh21jhingan, we had a good partnership in guarding the central defence, it was an emotion playing with you, Brother. @jejefanai, Trust me, you’re the best room partner I ever had and I’ll miss all these! I wish you all good luck and keep making our nation proud. These memories will stay with me forever.

Anas Edathodika.”

The Malappuram-born centre-back earned 19 caps for the Indian national team under Stephen Constantine. He entered the national team set-up at the age of 30, debuting in a 3-2 win against Cambodia in March 2017 .

Despite his late entry into Constantine’s national team set up, he managed to create a formidable defensive partnership with Sandesh Jhingan and quickly became the coach’s first-choice centre-back.

Anas began to take up football as a serious activity when he was in the tenth grade when he joined the Malappuram U14s.While playing football, Anas also worked as an auto-driver who would drive people around town for Rs. 180 a day.He then joined the football team of N.S.S College, Manjeri, where he groomed his skills under Dr. P.M. Sudhir Kumar. Eventually he was spotted by former India international Feroz Sherif while playing in an inter-collegiate game. Sherif advised Anas to attend the trials for I-League 2nd Division side Mumbai which Edathodika did. He passed the trials and was signed by the club on a one-year deal.

After one season with Mumbai, Anas managed to lead the club to promotion to the I-League.After helping the club gain promotion he was re-signed by the club on a three-year deal. While at Mumbai, Anas credited his former head coach Dave Booth for making him the defender he is today.

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