Midfielder Shimeles Bekele has officially announced his retirement from the national team, bringing an end to a 15-year adventure.
Shimeles’s footballing odyssey commenced in the vibrant city of Hawassa, where he first showcased his talent. His remarkable skills then caught the attention of St. George, where he plied his trade from 2011 to 2013. A new chapter beckoned when he embarked on a voyage to Libya, donning the colors of Ittihad Tripoli during the 2013-2014 season. Not content, he subsequently graced the football pitches of Sudan, representing Al-Merrikh in 2014.
However, it was Egypt that witnessed the blossoming of Shimeles’s footballing talent. The Egyptian soil became his sanctuary as he spent an extensive period at Petrojet from 2014 to 2019.
During this time, he showcased his immense talent, netting an impressive 29 goals in 123 appearances. From 2019 to 2021, he represented another Egyptian club, Misr Lel Makkasa, where he continued to leave his mark by tallying 16 goals in 60 appearances
The final chapter of his Egyptian sojourn saw him don the colors of El Gouna during the 2021-2022 season, leaving an indelible mark before making his triumphant return to the land that birthed his footballing dreams – Ethiopia. It was there that he sealed his professional career by signing with Michal Football Club, a fitting homecoming for a footballing icon.
The midfielder, who made significant contributions to Ethiopian football, bid an official farewell to the national team through a heartfelt letter shared on his social media page. Shimeles’s emotions ran high as he reflected on his 15-year journey, expressing a mixture of pride and a touch of sadness.
“Looking back on my time with the national team, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible support I have received. To the Ethiopian public, your unwavering encouragement has been the bedrock of my career. To my teammates, the camaraderie we shared on the field will forever hold a special place in my heart,” Shimeles said.
During his tenure with the Ethiopian national team, the midfielder boasted an impressive record, participating in 83 matches, scoring 16 goals, and providing 13 assists. A mark of his discipline and unwavering dedication shone through, underscored by a single yellow card received throughout his illustrious career.
In his retirement message, Shimeles reflected on the collective achievements of the team, highlighting their qualification for the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 31-year absence. That moment, he proclaimed, represented the pinnacle of their collective efforts, forever etched in the tapestry of Ethiopian footballing history.
As Shimeles’s retirement marks the end of an era for Ethiopian football, his invaluable contributions will forever be etched in the annals of the nation’s sporting history.