By Mohamed Fajah Barrie |BBC Sport|
Ivory Coast’s Nations Cup winning goalkeeper Boubacar Barry has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect.
It comes exactly four years after the 39-year old retired from international matches after helping the Elephants win the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Barry, whose career lasted for more than two decades, was part of Ivory Coast’s ‘golden’ generation which included the legendary Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, Kolo Touré and Gervinho amongst others.
“On 2 March I announced the end of my career as a goalkeeper which has lasted for 22 years,” Barry said in a statement on the website of Belgian second tier side OH Leuven – the club he joined in 2017.
“Boubacar ‘Copa’ Barry became what he is today thanks to the support from people who trusted him and gave him a chance,” Barry added, as he thanked those who have supported him during his career.
Barry confirmed he is staying in Belgium to take up a coaching role.
“I have indeed replaced my gloves with a new cap which is coaching.
“Thanks to God, I had the chance to join the OHL who have given me the post of a goalkeeper coach.
“I wish to express my gratitude for their confidence in me to start my new career with them. I am aware of the weight of the responsibilities and like my predecessors, I will continue to convey the values of universality and courage and team spirit,” he added.
Barry made 86 appearances for the Elephants including his seven matches at three World Cups.
He featured in Ivory Coast’s last group game against Serbia & Montenegro in the 2006 finals in Germany which they won 3-2, and also played in all the Elephants’ matches in the 2010 and 2014 finals in South Africa and Brazil respectively.
Barry was also between the posts for Ivory Coast in the 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
He will always be remembered for his last match for Ivory Coast against Ghana in the final of the 2015 Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea.
Barry was the hero as he saved two penalties and then scored the winning spot-kick in a 9-8 penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw at full-time and extra time to give Ivory Coast their second Nations Cup title.
He spent the last two years on the sidelines after joining OH Leuven as a backup goalkeeper.
Barry started his club football with Ivorian club ASEC Mimosa before moving to France in 2001 to join Rennes B side where he made 23 appearances.
In 2003, he moved to Belgium where he spent the rest of his club career playing for Beveren before joining Lokeren where he spent 10 seasons.
He played in the top flight with Lokeren featuring in 239 matches, winning the Belgian Cup twice in 2012 and 2014.