December 18, 2009

Nigerians will see a different Eagles next year – Sodje

Super Eagles defender, Sam Sodje has said that the Super Eagles who qualified for the 2010 World Cup by an hair’s breath will not take any team for granted and will equally not be afraid of any foe at the Mundial.

The Charlton Athletic football club player said that the World Cup ticket which many Nigerians thought was impossible is now a proof of what will happen at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations slated for Angola.

Sodje, in an exclusive telephone interview with Saturday Vanguard sports, hinted that the Nations Cup would be used as a test-run for the World Cup, pointing out that the Eagles who played both the Nations and World Cup qualifiers will be totally different from the ones at the World Cup proper.

“We are definitely going to step-up our game both at the Nations Cup and the World Cup. Even though I’ve said that the Angola tournament will be used as a test-run in January, we are going to be a terror to many  countries at the World Cup, quote me.

The negative perception some Nigerians have for us would change before the World Cup.

Let us forget the way we qualified, don’t let us allow our past to haunt our present and future. We are looking forward to how we’ll win the Nations Cup this time around after fifteen years.

What we should work on now is knowing our Nations Cup opponents even though they are not new to us. The last time we met the Pharoahs of Egypt was  at the 1994 Nations Cup. We defeated Benin last year in Ghana while Mozambique were beaten by a lone goal during the qualifier in Abuja. We are not underrating them, they too will give us a big fight because they want to revenge,” he said.

Concerning the call from Nigerians to change the chief coach of the team, Shaibu Amodu, Sodje said that it is only the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, that has a say on the matter, adding that for him as a player, “Amodu has done us the players and the country proud and there is no reason why he should not be given chance to take the team to the World Cup.”

On the World Cup draw which pitched Nigeria with Argentina, South Korea and Greece, Sodje said the Eagles fear no foe.

“We are going to South Africa for business and not to complete the numbers. I am saying it boldly that we fear no foe but at the same time not ready to take anybody for granted,” he said.