Vicelich eyes World Cup
Tue, 09 Oct 2012 6:45p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
All Whites defender Winston Reid is in doubt for this week's World Cup qualifiers against Tahiti as his English club West Ham awaits the results of a scan on his injured back.
The team will continue on the road to Brazil with or without him, and sitting at the back of the bus will be veteran Ivan Vicelich, who's eyeing a second World Cup before retiring for the second time.
At 36 years old, Vicelich is starting to think about life after football. He's about to open his own sports store specialising in youth apparel.
“[It’s] something in sports, something to get kids off the street, help them with good quality gear,” says Vicelich. “It's something that tickles my fancy. This is a little plan. This is a start.”
It's a start he was ready to make four years ago when he hung up his boots and retired from international football.
“It just seemed like a good decision and it still seems like a good decision. Maybe if I didn't retire it wouldn't have worked out.”
Ricki Herbert coaxed him out of retirement for the Confederations Cup in 2009. World cup qualification and success followed, Vicelich playing all three games in South Africa, ending his career on a high, but not for good.
“I guess it was not really knowing when to retire after that. I'd already done it once so I didn't want to make a quick decision again.”
Now, four years after ending his international career, he's still lining up with teammates nearly half his age.
“A lot of young boys but I still feel young as well.”
He's still holding his own in midfield, driving the team forward in recent qualifiers against New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
“He was my MVP over the two games,” says All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen. “He's very consistent and he's a manager's dream because he always throws out seven out of 10s and that's what you want in that position.
The challenge now is to hold off the youngsters and continue his midfield role at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Now that really would be the perfect way to bow out.
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