Former Nigeria international Efetobore Sodje says he has no regret not playing in the premier league despite playing in England for 18 seasons.
Sodje expressed satisfaction with what he has achieved in the game and believes it was not his destiny to play in the Premier League.
“We all have our different path in life,” says the rugged defender who in 2013/14 season returned to Macclesfield, the first club that gave him his first break in the beautiful game in the 1997/98 season.
”I am a fulfilled man as far as my football career went. I scored a lot of firsts in my career. I was the first black player to play for Macclesfield Town in the Football League (old Division 3) and the first man to score the club’s first goal in the Football League (scored Macclesfield’s first goal in their 2-1 win in their 1997/98 season opener win against Torguay).
“I was also the first black man from Crewe Alexandria to play in the FIFA World Cup. I played for 10 clubs and had eight promotions,” said Sodje in a chat.
The bandana-tying defender was named Bury FC’s assitant captained in 2008 after signing for the club as a player coach and the 47 year old says he was thrilled at the time to captain the club he featured 194 times for in the Football League.
“I achieved almost everything a footballer could hope to achieve in his career.I captained a football club in England and above all achieved the lifelong dream of all footballers which is to play in the FIFA World Cup. As a Nigerian I also had the honour of playing in Africa’s biggest competition, the Africa Cup of Nations. What more do I want? There Nigerians players in the premier league who didn’t play at the World Cup and /or Nations Cup. So,why would I feel any pain that I didn’t play in the premier league?”.
Sodje was however quick to add that he would have loved to play in the Premier League but insists he is not pained that it didn’t happen. Any footballer in the world will sacrifice playing in the Premier League for an appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
”Get me right, I would have loved to play there (Premier League), but I don’t regret not playing there because I achieved my ultimate aim playing in the lower leagues in England, making over 600 appearances and scoring about 40, 41 goals. I doubt if there was and is a Nigerian defender in England that scored the number of goals I scored.”