Will Onazi Make A Return To The Super Eagles?
Nigeria's Super Eagles were holding former world champions France 0:0 at the second round of the 2014 World Cup before Eddy Onazi was brutally and maliciously fouled by Blaise Matuidi.
After he was stretched off, Nigeria's midfield began to show cracks with the Eagles eventually conceding 2 late goals to be knocked out of the tournament.
Onazi was at the height of his game in 2014 but slowly declined in effectiveness before eventually losing his place in the Super Eagles to the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Peter Etebo.
These days, he rarely gets invited to the Super Eagles due to loss of form, injuries, availability of young and quality options and to an extent the league to which he plays his football.
But is all going to change?
This week, it was reported that Ogenyi Onazi joined Serie A newcomers Crotone on a three-year deal.
The 27 year old defensive midfielder joined The Pythagoreans on a free transfer after severing ties with Turkish Super Lig club Denizlispor over unpaid wages.
This is indeed a game-changer.
At the time when many Super Eagles first team players ply their trade in top 10 European leagues, this move to the Italian Serie A can only be a step in the right direction in Onazi's attempts of reviving his fast fading Super Eagles career.
The 2013 Afcon winning midfielder's penultimate game for the West African nation came at a pre-World Cup friendly against England on 02 June 2018. It was a match to forget for the slightly diminutive midfielder as he was at the heart of the 2 goals conceded by Nigeria in the encounter.
His goal-line leap wasn't high enough to prevent Gary Cahill's header, off a corner kicks, from crashing into the back of the net for England's first goal in 7 minutes; he then lost possession in a dangerous area in 38 minutes for Harry Kane to eventually profit from this and beat Uzoho with a low drive for England's second goal.
Onazi last featured for Nigeria on the 08 September 2018 in Afcon qualifier.
Injuries, fitness issues, loss of form and availability of young vibrant players for Nigeria are all factors that have conspired in keeping the door of Super Eagles invitation shut to Onazi since 2018.
However, now that he is on the books of Crotone in the Italian Serie A, all of that is likely to change.
"Wow, great move (to Italy)! hoping to see Onazi wearing the Green-White-Green again as his form improves," remarked a Super Eagles fan in a online discussion platform.
Indeed, Onazi would need to work his way back to full fitness and hope that his injuries nightmare are well and truly behind him.
With his wealth of experience and midfield expertise, it would be fascinating to see Onazi return to regular football in Italy playing alongside Simmy Nwankwo.
If that happens, his road back to the Super Eagles would be as free as a motorway devoid of any sort of traffic.
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