EXCLUSIVE: No reason why Super Eagles will not qualify – Ogenyi Onazi

Former Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi is optimistic that Nigeria will defeat South Africa in next week’s FIFA World Cup qualifier in Uyo.

The Super Eagles will host Bafana Bafana in Uyo as they aim to rejuvenate their campaign after a shaky start to the qualifiers.

Ogenyi Onazi confident of victory over South Africa
Photo by Icon Sport

With only two points from a possible six, Nigeria currently sit in third position in Group C, where only the top team qualifies automatically for the World Cup.

Onazi, who was part of the Nigerian squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, believes this group of Eagles has what it takes to secure their first three points of the qualifiers.

Onazi sure Super Eagles will soar above Bafana Bafana

“South Africa is a very tough team but I am sure we are going to beat them this time around,” the Avezzano midfielder stated.

“We beat them at the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast and I am sure the boys have the advantage now as they will be confident of their chances.

“South Africa and Nigeria games are always fierce and it is like a  local derby. The Eagles will not have it easy but they will get the win.

Ogenyi Onazi has had several notable encounters with South Africa during his tenure with the Super Eagles, Nigeria's national football team.

Ogenyi Onazi's South African experience

One of the most memorable clashes came when Onazi captained the Super Eagles in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier held in Uyo.

In this match, South Africa secured a 2-0 victory. It was the first time Bafana Bafana were defeating Nigeria on their home ground.

Additionally, Onazi played a key role in the 1-1 draw against South Africa in an international friendly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in March 2015.

Another encounter with South Africa that stands out in Onazi's career was the goalless draw at the Green Point Stadium in September 2014.

Reflecting on these experiences, the 31-year-old Onazi expressed his thoughts in an interview with afrik-foot.com.

Ogenyi Onazi confident of Super Eagles victory over South Africa
Photo by Icon Sport

He emphasised the importance of unity and understanding within the team, particularly under the guidance of coach Finidi George.

Onazi believes that a cohesive and well-coordinated team is essential for achieving victory on matchday against South Africa.

“A new coach is around but he is well-known to the players so I doubt it should be an issue,”Onazi said.

“Hopefully, the coach and the players are on the same wavelength. If that is the case then I see no reason why we will not qualify.

“The boys are hungry for the World Cup and they will do their best on matchday. I am confident we will win that game.”he concluded.

Ogenyi Onazi has played 51 times with the Super Eagles scoring one goal. He also played at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where Nigeria exited in the Round of 16 to France.

Ogenyi Onazi
Photo by Icon Sport

Super Eagles have to go all out against South Africa and Benin

The Super Eagles find themselves in a precarious position as they head into the next round of World Cup qualifiers.

Currently sitting third in Group C, the Eagles face a critical juncture in their quest to secure a coveted spot at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Rwanda have emerged as the surprise leaders of the group, boasting an impressive four points from their opening fixtures.

Nigeria team
Photo by Icon Sport

South Africa follow closely behind with three points, while Nigeria trail with just two points to their name. Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Benin round out the group. 

New coach Finidi George will however hope to start his reign with a good result and get Nigeria’s qualification campaign back on track

EXCLUSIVE: No reason why Super Eagles will not qualify – Ogenyi Onazi
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a veteran Nigerian sports journalist with over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game across Africa. Andrew served as a Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 Men's National Team for three years, offering a unique perspective on the future stars of Nigerian football.

Beyond reporting, Andrew is a pioneer in sports graphics creation within Nigeria. His expertise extends to sports kit design, making him a true multi-faceted talent in the African sports landscape.

Andrew's experience is vast, with collaborations encompassing prestigious names like Kickoff, SuperSport, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation), and the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League)