6 days to 2013 South Africa Cup of Nations: Onazi talks tough, targets trophy

Posted by News Express | 14 January 2013 | 3,242 times

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Lazio of Italy midfielder Ogenyi Onazi (shown in photo bursting loose in a match) has said he wishes to crown his Africa Cup of Nations debut in South Africa with the trophy after gate crashing into the Nigerian team, the Super Eagles.

The former U17 star was only capped by Nigeria in October, but has done enough to make a final 23-man squad for the Nations Cup.

In this interview with culled from MTNFootball.com, he says he wants to fly all the way to the championship on February 10. Excerpts:

Congratulations on making the squad to the Nations Cup. What are your targets now at the tournament?
As a footballer, the aim is always to go to the top. By his special grace, my dream is to win the AFCON in South Africa.

In one of the recent warm-up games against star-studded Catalonia, you stood up to be counted by your performance. 
Well, all thanks to Almighty God for his mercy and favour on me because without him I can do nothing. I just try to give my best.

You gave the assist to Bright Dike for the goal against Catalonia, how was that moment?
It was a great moment for me, but I am looking forward to doing bigger things in South Africa.

How was it like battling in the midfield with Barcelona stars like Xavi and Sergio Busquets?
They are mobile and full of tricks with and without the ball at their feet. If I weren’t fast and up to it, I would have found it very difficult to contend with them, all that's to God for the strength.

You play as a defensive and attacking midfielder, which of the roles do you prefer?
The ability to be flexible and fit into the plans of different coaches is very important in modern-day football. Personally, I am comfortable playing anywhere in the midfield when called upon.

So, what are the chances of the Eagles at the AFCON?
With the qualities that we have, I see us getting to the final by the special grace of God.

You have been picked out as the clown in the Eagles?
I would gladly give the joker of the group to Azubuike Egwuewke, although I am pretty sure most of the other guys will give that award to me.

What do the Eagles expect from Nigerians as you go into battle at the AFCON?
We just ask for their prayers and their total support.

Who has most influenced you in Eagles since you made your full international debut against Liberia in October in Calabar?
It is Ike Uche. He has continued to encourage and this has lifted lifted my confidence.

What should those following your career expect from you in South Africa?
All thanks to my fans all over the world, may God bless them all for not giving up on me. I promise them all that I will always give my 100 percent at all times. They are just the best. They keep me going.

What targets do you hope to achieve at Lazio in 2013?
I want to win Serie A Scudetto and automatically qualify for Champions League. We have already won the first leg of the Roman derby against Roma, I hope we can do a double over them. In addition to all these, I hope to clock a good number of matches for my club as well as put a smile on the faces of Nigerians at the end of this AFCON.

Source: News Express

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