Captain Shimelis Retires from International Football

Ethiopian national team captain Shimelis Bekele has retired from international football.

The attacking midfielder announced the end of his international football, penning a farewell letter to the Ethiopian Football family Thursday.

“It is with a sense of pride and a touch of sadness that I announce my retirement from the Ethiopian National Team after a fulfilling 15-year journey,” he said.

Shimelis made 83 appearances for the Walia Ibex, scoring 16 goals and assisting 13.

He was among the key players that helped Ethiopia reach the 2013 African Cup of Nations finals after more than three decades of absence.

“Together, we’ve experienced the spectrum of emotions, from the challenges to the pinnacle of our collective efforts qualifying for AFCON after 31 long years in 2013,” he said. “These memories are indelible and will remain with me always”.

Shimelis was also one of three players from the 2013 squad that competed in the 2021 Afcon finals.

His last match for the Walias came in the narrow loss to Egypt – the final match of their unsuccessful Afcon 2023 qualifying bid – in Cairo on Sept 8, 2023.

“As I close this chapter,” he said, “I want you to know that my commitment to our remains steadfast.”

“I may be retiring from play, but my support for the team’s future endeavors is unwavering,” Shimelis continued. “I carry forward the spirit of Ethiopian football wherever I go.”

The diminutive player with outstanding ball control and vision currently plays his club football for the Ethiopian top tier side Mechal FC.

Shimelis won multiple Ethiopian premier league titles with St George after joining them from Hawassa FC where he made his debut.

He also played for several clubs outside Ethiopia including Libya’s Ittihad Tripoli, and Sudan’s Al-Merrikh SC as well as Egyptian sides Petrojet, El Gouna, Misr Lel Makkasa, and ENPPI.