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Ben Sigmund retires from international football

Sigmund, who made the trip to Doha and Tashkent earlier this month for the first match under new All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, knew it was time to retire from international football when his four-year-old son Cameron stopped and looked up at him as the pair walked to kindy a couple of days after he had returned home from what was a three-week trip.
“He squeezed my hand and said ‘Daddy, I’m so glad you have come home’,” Sigmund said.
“It was an emotional moment and just confirmed something I had been thinking about for some time. It was time to call quits on my time with the All Whites.”
After talking to wife Deanna, Hudson and Phoenix boss Ernie Merrick, 33-year-old Sigmund brought the curtain down on his international career yesterday.
Making the decision a little easier was the realisation that he had no chance of playing in the next World Cup four years from now, and that he had not got on the field against Uzbekistan last month.
“I was away from my family for three weeks and sat on the bench during the game,” he says,
“It got to the point where I was missing my family terribly and feel it is now time to give more to them because you never get that [family] time back.
“I will still be playing for the Phoenix and while we are away in Aussie every other week, it is usually only for weekends.
“I respect the fact that Anthony is looking to the future and there are plenty of senior players in the squad to mentor the young ones coming through.
“While I still feel I can do a job it is their [young players] time now.
“It is also important to me that I am going out on my terms and that this decision may extend my Phoenix career by a couple of years.”
When you ask Sigmund for the best moment of his international career, you expect it to be the unbeaten run of the All Whites at the 2010 World Cup finals. Wrong.
“The win over Bahrain that qualified us for the finals is by far the greatest moment,” he says with a grin.
“I’ll never forget that night and there are photos of that game in the hallway of my house.”
Hudson says Sigmund’s contribution to the All Whites environment will be missed as the team begin to chart a course towards qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“During my time with the team in Doha and Tashkent it was obvious that Ben has been a key member in the All Whites squad for a number of years now,” Hudson said.
“The professional manner with which he approached every aspect of our time together was highly impressive and it provides a benchmark which players coming into the environment much reach if we are to move towards our goal of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
“On behalf of All Whites fans everywhere, I thank Ben for the commitment and passion he showed while representing his country and I wish him all the best as moves towards the start of the coming A-League season.”
Ben Sigmund – Career in numbers
All Whites caps: 32
Debut: v Oman, August 17, 2000
v New Caledonia (3-1 win), Noumea, September 6, 2008
v Tahiti (2-0 win), Papeete, October 12, 2012
For more on New Zealand football visit www.nzfootball.co.nz

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