With Wilfred Ndidi, Peter Etebo, Joe Aribo and Ramon Azeez firmly entrenched in the heart of the Super Eagles midfield, Turkey-based midfielder Ogenyi Onazi believes that there is still space for him to sqeeze in.
“When I’m doing that pretty well, I’m sure I will be back in the (Super Eagles team again),” expressed Onazi recently in an interview with Brilla FM.
The 27 year old Afcon winning centre midfielder last featured for Nigeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Seychelles in 2018, having only recovered from a long injury layoff at that time. He would miss the 2019 AFCON finals due to injury setback.
Since January 2020 in Turkey, Onazi has featured in 7 out of 11 games for Denizlispor as he continues to rediscover his game after long term injury. However, will he rediscover his position in the Super Eagles?
Unless injury strikes any of the current Super Eagles midfielders, the chances of Onazi displacing any of them are very slim indeed. Additionally, 2 of them play in the Spanish La Liga whilst the other 2 play in Premier Leagues in Great Britain. With an emphasis of Gernot Rohr leaning towards players featuring in glamorous leagues, playing in Turkey presents Onazi a distinct disadvantage.
Even Mikel Agu who features in the Portugal Primera Liga is also a player Onazi would need to displace.
Having said all that, all hope is not lost. Should Onazi put his injury demons behind him and re-discovers anything close to his 2013 form, then, he has a chance of mounting a formidable challenge of reclaiming his place in the national team.