Former defender previews World Cup 2014
Ahead of Huddersfield Town’s World Cup Draw 2014, sponsored by John Smith’s, htafc.com caught up with former defender Efe Sodje to assess the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Efe was part of the Nigeria squad that went to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, making two appearances against Argentina and England.
The former Town Captain, signed from Crewe in 2003, believed that his nation Nigeria had a great chance to progress through this year’s tournament.
“We’ve got Argentina, Iran and Bosnia in the group stages and there is a real opportunity for Nigeria to come out of the group and make it to the Second Round at least. I know people will say that Argentina with Segio Aguero and Leo Messi up front will be the favourites for the group, but I still think we can beat Argentina. Nigeria is a country that could beat anybody and I think this World Cup could spring lot of surprises and see some big upsets. Every country has the potential to provide a shock.
“For Nigeria as a nation, it’s crazy. Whenever you want peace in Nigeria just put the football on! As soon as we qualified, the Nigerian people will have wanted to go to the World Cup in Brazil to watch their team, as the nation of Brazil is seen as the home of football.”
The ex-Nigerian international picked some of the players that he predicted would be making an impact at the World Cup: “I think Peter Odemwingie from Stoke and John Obi Mikel from Chelsea will stand out for Nigeria. Victor Moses has a lot to show, and although he has not played a lot this year, he could be the one to watch. Nigeria has a lot of up and coming youngsters, and a prospect to watch could be Sunday Mba.”
Focusing on England and their chances, Efe was a little more reserved: “With England, it is a tricky one, but I’m pleased that they qualified. Individually, England has quality players, but it seems that they have problems when the team are brought together; they blow hot and cold. I do believe however they can make the Quarter Finals and maybe even the Semi-Finals. I think they can certainly get out of their group. The obvious threat is Italy, and their main striker is Mario Ballotelli, who can make things happen. He is a big danger, but they have many threats as well as him.”
Efe is currently the Assistant Manager at Macclesfield Town and having played for the Club at the start of his career, he was keen to help the Silkmen in the Skrill Premier this season: “I was passionate to get involved and the priority was always staying in the division. We built the team in a week and a half before the season with a small budget, and we targeted players that were local to the Club. It has given me some good managerial experience to get ready to maybe make the step up.”
Efe has never forgotten his time at Huddersfield and remembered his first dealings with the Club: “It was unbelievable. I remember getting the phone call from my agent saying that Huddersfield want you. The Stadium alone was unbelievable. The opportunity came up and as soon as I knew that Terry Yorath and Peter Jackson were involved, I wanted to sign and was amazed I was going to play for both of them.
“I remember finding out that people like Andy Booth played at the Club, so I knew this was going to be a great club. The team spirit was crazy! I’ve never had a bad word to say about Huddersfield. My only regret was I didn’t get to celebrate at the Play-Off Final in Cardiff by lifting the trophy in front of the Huddersfield fans.”
The Club’s World Cup draw will take place on Friday 6 June and 32 winning tickets will be drawn. Each ticket will randomly be assigned a team in the World Cup, with the prize won determined by the progress of that team.
Deadline for tickets to be returned is this Friday, 6 June at 12 noon.
Fans can purchase tickets from the Promotions Department on 01484 484146 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for the draw will also be available at Town’s home games and can be purchased online now at htafcmegastore.com – click HERE. Alternatively, fans can visit the Stadium Superstore or Ticket Office to purchase tickets.