Football-Nelson Sopha retires from national team


SOPHA … retiring from the Seychelles national teamSpeaking to Sports Nation, Sopha, 38, said it has not been an easy decision for him to make and he feels it’s time to give the chance to the young shot-stoppers despite him remaining agile between the posts.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision for me to make. I have decided to step aside only after a great deal of thought, consideration and discussion," said Sopha.

"I have dedicated 21 years of my life to my country, and I have a great affinity with all the squads I’ve played on. I’d like to thank all my fans, managers, coaching staff and players whom I have worked alongside for their support during my time with the team.”

Sopha added that he will continue to be “Seychelles’ biggest fan” and he will be in a good position to do that and at the same time bring his experience to the team when he travels with them to Lusaka, Zambia, for the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) football tournament.

He will be accompanying the new-look Seychelles team as goalkeeping coach, a position he has been preparing for some time.

Actually following a goalkeeping coaching course being run by the Fédération internationale de football association (Fifa) at the Maison Football, Sopha first became acquainted to teaching goalkeeping when he was approached by the Seychelles Football Federation to follow a Fifa course in Morocco from March 7-10, 2011.

“I was approached by the Seychelles Football Federation to follow the course and I feel it’s a good opportunity,” Sopha told Sports Nation then.

“This is a chance for me to prepare my post-goalkeeping career as I want to concentrate on coaching,” he added at the time.

Called to the Seychelles squad in 1992 and a regular ever since, Sopha is not hanging up his gloves altogether as he concentrates on his career with defending Barclays league division one champions St Michel.

“At the age of 38, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger goalkeepers come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career and win some more titles before I decide to hang up my gloves definitely,” said Sopha, one of the finest goalkeepers, along with Suketu Patel, Ange Dubignon and Joliff Bibi, the country has known.

He was a member of the country’s national team who won the goal medal at the 8th Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) here from August 4-15, 2011. This was his fifth IOIG after 1993 in Seychelles, 1998 in Reunion (bronze medal), 2003 in Mauritius (bronze medal) and 2007 in Madagascar.

"It has been a great honour and a privilege to have represented my country at international level and I have always been very proud to play for Seychelles. I have loved every minute of it, but feel now is the right time to end my international career,” noted Sopha.

G. G.