No Excuse Not to Play in World Cup – Ogenyi Onazi


Eric Elezuo

So sad the Super Eagles will not, for the second consecutive time, be featuring in the African Nations Cup, taking place in Gabon next year. To this effect, Nigerians have taken heart even as most Super Eagles players have promised to do better. But that notwithstanding, the make of champions is very obvious in the way the carry themselves coupled with the quality of performance they display. It is very glaring in the person of Ogenyi Onazi, the petite Super Eagles midfielder, who made his debut for the Nigerian elite team in a game against Liberia scored his debut goal for the nation against Venezuala in Florida.

Recently, the Benue born prolific midfielder visited the Boss office and proved that what makes a champion is inside him.

Onazi, with Ovation Editor, Michael Effiong
Onazi, with Ovation Editor, Michael Effiong


Having recently joined a new promising club side in Turkey, with the hope that things would get better, the midfielder, who just arrived Nigeria to participate in the game against the Tanzanian National side on Saturday, September 3 in Uyo Akwa Ibom State, said that though the match will not propel the Super Eagles to the Nations Cup, the team will give their best to redeem the dwindling image of the country.

“I just moved to Turkey, Trabzonspor Sporting Club to be precise. We are a promising club, hoping that things would get better.

Onazi, fielding questions from Eric Elezuo
Onazi, fielding questions from Eric Elezuo

Well, I would say at this moment the team is giving its support as all the players are back, even though the match against Tanzania is not very important because we are not more going for the nations cup, but it is a good medium for us to support the coach, and put our heads together to plan how we are going to qualify for the world cup.”

The midfielder believes that the Nigeria football public, who had given its support continually to the Super Eagles deserve something to cheer them up at this time when they are mourning the absence of the Eagles from the Nations Cup for the second consecutive time.


Well there have been so many set back, most especially in the football area, but the people deserve better. This match though will not take us to the tournament, but it is very important for Nigeria in many ways. First, it will be used to restore the confidence of the people who had given so much in terms of support, and also to bring back our lost glory. We are doing our best to achieve that,” Onazi said.

On the world cup qualifiers billed to commence in October, Onazi commented that preparation is in top gear.

“That is why we are back, and we want to use this game we are going to play against Tanzania to make sure we put ourselves together and try to make sure we don’t have an excuse to play in the world cup,” he said.

Then what should the Nigerian people be expecting

“I am assuring you that we are going to win the match though I can’t exactly say the scores, but aside winning, expect good football.


He gave kudos to his new club where he hyped as being able to make available some facilities which are not available in most parts of the world as regards football, saying that ‘this is my first time of playing in Turkey’.

Though there is no one person Onazi can pick as a playing the part of a role model in his life, he revered the great players who had shown class in the Nigerian shirt such as Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Sunday Oliseh, Peter Rufai among others.

He said: “They are the people we look up to and we pray we get to that height, but most importantly, we have to keep working hard.”

On his highest point as a footballer, Onazi philosophically intoned:

The best is yet to come but so far; I am very optimistic, every game is important and I am doing my best.

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