YESSENTUKI, RUSSIA - JUNE 12: Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria poses for a portrait during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session on June 12, 2018 in Yessentuki, Russia. (Photo by Dan Mullan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Despite a troubling 2018 with the Super Eagles of Nigeria, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has continued to prove doubters wrong with series of impressive performances with Trabzonspor that has led to football-loving Nigerians calling for his return to the national team, reports.
The 25-year-old had arguably one of his toughest times with the national team in 2018 after a series of questionable displays which led to him losing his place prior to the World Cup. The midfielder sat on the bench for all of Nigeria’s three games, a rare contrast to the 2014 edition where he played all four matches.
The former Lazio of Italy man did, however, come out to reveal that he struggled with injury during those periods and has already overcome them, promising to give his 120% best anytime he gets a national team chance, especially at the 2019 AFCON 2019.
But a clear look at Onazi’s form suggests the midfielder looks rejuvenated and will definitely be a plus to the Eagles going into a busy 2019.
Onazi has already equaled his goals and assist tally for last season, doing so in just 15 games whilst he is also regarded as the League’s best ball winner. This showed clearly in his last two games where he has robbed an opponent twice in key points to score and create another.
His 875 (86%) pass completion makes him the third best ball playing midfielder in the Turkish League which is an upgrade from last season where he completed just 82% of his passes all season.
His influence for Trabzonspor can’t also be overlooked as the Nigerian tops the chart for most tackles this season 33 (69%) completion rate and has also made a team-high 27 interceptions, which has helped the club maintain their push for an European place as they now seat 4th on the log table.
Having missed Nigeria’s last five for, he will definitely be eyeing a return to the team in March when the Eagles host Seychelles in a dead rubber AFCON 2019 qualifier.
Onazi has 51 international caps to his name, and was an integral part of the Eagles squad that won the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.
As Nigeria makes a return to the Nations Cup, his experience will definitely be a an added advantage for the team going forward.