Ogenyi Onazi of Al-Adalah has defended his inclusion in Nigeria’s provisional squad for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers match against Ghana.
Coach Austin Eguavoen has selected the 29-year-old on the standby list for the Super Eagles’ crucial match against the Black Stars.
The 29-year-old is one of coach Austin Eguavoen’s standby players for the two-legged match, but his inclusion has been questioned by Super Eagles supporters, who believe he has outlived his usefulness for the national side.
Onazi was named to the standby list alongside Chidozie Awaziem, Jamilu Collins, Chidera Ejuke, Taiwo Awoniyi, Paul Onuachu, and Peter Olayinka, who last played for Nigeria in a 3-0 win over Seychelles during Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers four years ago.
“It comes as no surprise to me because I’m still playing and ready to play at any time, and when it comes to the national team, I’m always at the service of the country – to always give my all for the country,” Onazi told Omasports, as quoted by Completesports.
“Yes, it’s been a long since I was with the Eagles, but when we talk about this game — home and away – that will determine if we qualify for the World Cup [it’s critical].” When I got a call from the coach, he told me how crucial it is – which I already knew.
“We’ll need the experience to take on this game.” It’s not a question of where you play, where you came from, or what you’re up to.
“People like [Odion] Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, and the rest of the people on the list, we need to put our heads together.” This is a national problem, not a personal one. We’re not in a solo sport; we need to pool our resources to produce the best results at the right time.”
Onazi, who has also played in Serie A for Lazio, claims he will not be sidetracked by his criticism and would instead concentrate on helping the Super Eagles reach Qatar.
“I don’t pay attention to what they post on the internet.” We don’t know what will happen because I’m still on the reserve list and not yet on the main list. Let’s maintain it that way for now, and then we’ll see what happens,” Onazi said.
“As far as I’m concerned, football in this current environment – it doesn’t matter if you’re playing for Manchester United or Kazakhstan or elsewhere – it’s all the same to me.” You’re not representing your club by playing for the national team; instead, you’re representing yourself by combining your individual skills and abilities with those of your teammates to form a team.
“I never had a problem with anyone throughout my tenure with the national team.” I’ve always been the one in the middle, bridging the gap between the young and the old to help them fit in. When I’m on the field, I give everything I’ve got until I’m nearly dead.”
The Super Eagles will travel to Ghana to face the Black Stars in the opening leg on March 25, with the return game four days later in Abuja.