Denizlispor midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has not played for the Super Eagles since the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but he can’t stop dreaming of wearing the green and white colours again.
Former Lazio ace, Onazi, has been one of the main actors behind the Super Eagles success in recent years, and he has expressed his desire to be a part of the team’s future triumphs.
A 16-year-old Onazi showed his potential when he helped the Golden Eaglets picked the silver medal at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, and he has not looked back since.
In his first major tournament with the Super Eagles, the Benue-born midfield enforcer was immense throughout the championship as Nigeria claimed her third continental crown at the 2013 CAF African Cup of Nations.
The former Trabzonspor star has since featured for the three-time African champions at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 edition – he didn’t start any of the games in Russia.
However, that was his last tournament to date for Gernot Rohr’s side as an Achilles injury suffered in December 2018 while playing for his club in Turkey kept him out of the 2019 AFCON.
In Onazi’s absence, Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo have held firm in midfield for the Super Eagles. But the 27-year-old defensive midfielder is not giving up hope of playing for his beloved country again.
“I’ve been blessed to have gone to four major tournaments. So, if I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament, it’d be a dream,” Onazi told Sports Extra.
“I was in the Nigerian squad for like seven years, and probably most of that time I was at Trabzonspor doing very well.
“So, I don’t know. I’ve always been a positive person, but there comes a time where you think, ‘is it really going to happen?’
“All I can do is keep playing well. At the end of the day, it’s up to the manager (Gernot Rohr), so we’ll see.”
Nigeria are well placed to qualify for the 2021 AFCON as the West African nation currently sits atop her qualifying group with the maximum points earned out of her first two matches.
The Super Eagles next two matches against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone have, however, been cancelled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.