Nigeria won their third AFCON trophy in 2013, and that achievement affected some players positively
Former Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has revealed that winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria earned him popularity and made him well-respected at his club.
Onazi was an important lieutenant for coach Stephen Keshi in the run-up to their 2013 AFCON win in South Africa.
Prior to the AFCON, Onazi was not one of the biggest names in the AFCON squad, as he had made just two appearances before the competition.
However, he soon became an important player for the team as the former Lazio man played every minute of the round of 16 for Nigeria and became a mainstay in the midfield.
After his heroics with Nigeria, Onazi went on to sign a contract extension at his club, Lazio. However, in an interview with Soccernet, Onazi revealed that aside from the improved deal at Lazio, he enjoyed other benefits after winning the AFCON.
“I gained more popularity after winning the 2013 AFCON,” Onazi told Soccernet.
“I was known all over the world, my value went higher. After the tournament, I got a lot of calls from other clubs that my head was full. It gave me more respect at my club, Lazio.
“When I returned to Italy, everybody liked me; they were calling me King of Africa. That gave me an edge and more respect. It was during that period that I renewed my contract. I got more money and more years on my deal afterwards.
“It was not the same because a lot of things happened in my career. It was the turning point for me.
The Super will play in the 2023 AFCON in January, and the only surviving member from that 2013 team is Kenneth Omeruo. Nigeria has a young squad, and they want to make history in Ivory Coast.