51-cap Super Eagles midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi has revealed how winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] title earned him more money and popularity.
Onazi (30), was 20-years old at the time and was an integral member of the Super Eagles team that won Nigeria’s third Africa Cup of Nations title.
Prior to the 2013 AFCON, Onazi had made only two appearances with the Nigeria Men’s national team but his performances especially in the knockout stages made him a mainstay in the team.
Also, the midfielder earned a new improved contract at Italian Serie A club, Lazio and like he will disclose to Soccernet, he became more popular and liked in Italy.
” I gained more popularity after winning the 2013 AFCON,” Onazi said.
“I was known all over the world, my value went higher. After the tournament, I got a lot of calls from other clubs that my head was full. It gave me more respect at my club, Lazio.
“When I returned to Italy, everybody liked me; they were calling me King of Africa. That gave me an edge and more respect. It was during that period that I renewed my contract. I got more money and more years on my deal afterwards.
“It was not the same because a lot of things happened in my career. It was the turning point for me.” he said.
After leaving Lazio in 2019, Onazi has gone off the spotlight at club and international level.
The 1.72m tall midfielder currently plays for Kitchee FC in the Hong Kong Premier League.
10-years after winning the AFCON title in South Africa, Nigeria will be out in search of a fourth title at the 2023 edition to be hosted by Ivory Coast.
The Jose Peseiro tutored Super Eagles team will face hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in group A.