‘Football not the same again after COVID-19’, says Onazi

Chidi Nwoke, Abuja.

Nigerian international and Denizlispor midfielder Ogenyi Onazi

Nigerian international Ogenyi Onazi is thrilled to be back training with Turkish club Denizlispor, but said that football is not the same again without spectators, social distancing and other protocols no thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Onazi was called up to the Super Eagles 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, where Nigeria won the prestigious tournament after victory over Burkina Faso in the final.

He has also had spells in Europe playing for Lazio (2011-2016) and Trabzonspor (2016-2019).

Onazi, 27, said the coronavirus pandemic has badly affected football, like other aspects of life.

 “I am happy that we are back at training and the league (in Turkey) will resume on June 12, so I can start doing what I know how to do best. I have missed the game,” Onazi said.

“The games are to be played at empty stadium and we know that fans are very important for every team, but we now have this virus troubling the world so we have to take care of ourselves first.”

“To be honest, for now football is not same again with this social distancing and playing football,” he added.

Onazi and his team have been tested for COVID-19 and have all turned out negative.