Akwa to retire from national team

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Angola captain Fabrice Akwa has said he will retire from the national team after the World Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Angola Captain Fabrice Akwa has said he will retire from the national team after the World Cup. The 10-year national team veteran, who scored the goal against Rwanda that helped Angola qualify for the World Cup for the first time in its history, said making the tournament in Germany was the pinnacle of his sporting career. "After managing to qualify, I feel I've reached the highest point in my career as a player," Akwa said in a telephone interview from Luanda. "Playing for the national team has also been a disadvantage in some ways. For example, when I was playing for Benfica, I had to come back to Angola many times to play for the national team," Akwa said. High expectations The 29-year-old striker played for Angola at the African Cup of Nations earlier this year, but the Black Antelopes failed to reach the quarterfinals after losing to Cameroon and drawing with Congo. "The Angolan people are expecting more from us than what we did at the African Cup of Nations and the pressure is mounting every day," Akwa said. "People think it's easy to go there and win. That is normal because they don't play football," he added. Angola beat fellow World Cup qualifier Togo in its final match at the African Cup, but it wasn't enough to advance past the first round. Togo was also eliminated in the first round. At the World Cup, Angola will face Portugal on June 11 and Mexico on June 16. If Angola fails to advance to the second round, the final group match against Iran on June 21 would be Akwa's last for the national team. However, he expects to continue his club career. After a spell at Benfica, he left Portugal for Qatar but is now training with a team in Angola. (AP)