Ogenyi Onazi is hoping that Eagles will soon win back the confidence of their fans after Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Lazio midfielder told AfricanFootball.com that the Eagles will work hard to regain the trust and support of Nigerians as they get set for friendly games and the qualifying tournament for the 2017 AFCON. Excerpt:
Super Eagles have a friendly game against Bolivia in March, how are you looking forward to the game?
Playing for Nigeria always comes with a unique feeling for me. Nothing beats wearing the green jersey and singing the national anthem once it comes on. So, I’m definitely looking forward to the game.
Eagles missed the 2015 AFCON, what is your next target with the national team?
We know we have to start off on a positive note and try to win back the support of our loyal fans. We let them down last time out by not making it to the AFCON 2015 to defend our title and we have to win back their trust and support starting with good results in friendly games. We also want to get the 2017 AFCON ticket followed by a World Cup ticket.
What are your targets with Lazio this season?
I know we may not be the best team in the league but we have shown with some of our performances that we building something solid. Hopefully we can build some consistency and qualify for Europe, as well as win the Italian cup for our lovely fans.
You rewarded a lucky fan a cash prize and university education scholarship, what motivated you to do this?
God has been great in my life and I don’t ever feel like I can do enough to thank him for his grace upon my life. I know where I started from, so I am always keen to make people happy. It’s all God.
You are strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, what really happened?
Well, I know I’ve been ‘strongly’ linked with a number of teams. I read and heard about them like you did so it doesn’t bother me one bit. I am happy with Lazio. I love Rome and the fans and they love me in return.
When was your most memorable moment as a player?
I have had some lovely moments in my career. The day I made my debut for Nigeria and Lazio were great days, when I won the AFCON and Coppa Italia as well as when I played at the World Cup were all memorable moments for me. These memories have stayed there and I want more.
When was your darkest day as a national team player?
That has to be the day we failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON. I am also a football fan, so I know how it feels. Knowing how well Nigerians love football and the Eagles, I did feel very bad about it all. But we’ve got another opportunity to correct our failure, I hope we have all learnt valuable lessons from that sad experience.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I find nothing more enjoyable than resting and sleeping. Also, I am beginning to fancy photography lately. I have been using the ActiveOn action camera for a while and I could say I am hooked on it.