Cyprus's most capped player Yiannis Okkas said "the most important chapter of my career has come to an end" after deciding to retire from international football at the age of 35.
"As a player, I always gave everything for Cyprus," said the Anorthosis Famagusta FC forward. "Although your spirit remains the same, the body begins to give way, which is why I wanted to call it a day. It wouldn't have been fair to take part in the upcoming [FIFA World Cup] qualifiers because I knew that my body wouldn't be able to give that 100% that I always give. I leave with my head held high. Even games when things went badly, I never held back. Even when we lost 8-0 to Spain, I was proud to play for Cyprus."
The former Nea Salamis Famagusta FC, PAOK FC, AEK Athens FC, Olympiacos FC, R. Celta de Vigo and AC Omonia striker, currently in his second spell at Anorthosis, made his senior debut aged 20 in a 3-2 friendly loss to Poland on 15 February 1997. The 3-1 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying defeat in Norway on 11 October last year – in which he scored his 27th international goal – will now mark his 106th and final cap.
Described by Cyprus Football Association (KOP/CFA) president Costakis Koutsokoumnis as "a total professional who was not only a great player but a wonderful person and a friend," Okkas famously chipped France goalkeeper Grégory Coupet in a UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier and also registered against Germany and Italy. "The goal I scored against France is, I believe, the best I ever got for Cyprus," he said.
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