Early in the season, he set sights on winning the Turkish League trophy with Trabzonspor and get back to his best form, but it was a dream in futility as Trabzonspor sees the 2013 AFCON winner as surplus to requirement and therefore terminated his appointment. Hours after Ogenyi Onazi was relieved of his appointment by his former employer another Turkish side, Denizlispor gave him a one-and-half-year contract
Hours after his contract was terminated at Trabzonspor, a club he joined from Italian club Lazio in August 2016 and made 79 league appearances scoring seven goals, Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has linked up Turkish Super Lig club Denizlispor on a one-and-half-year contract
The 27-year-old recently returned to action after spending almost a year on the sidelines due to achilles tendon injury.
“We would like to thank our valuable player Onazi, who has adopted the values of our club in a short period of time, who has managed to integrate with the city of Trabzon, who has won the love of all our fans from seven to seventy with his character and sincerity, and wish luck and success in his career after Trabzonspor. Get on the road, Ogenyi Onazi!,”reads a message on Trabzonspor’s official website.
Turkish Super Lig title contenders Trabzonspor terminated Onazi’s contract on Wednesday. The Black Sea club said on their website that Onazi’s deal was ended by mutual termination so he became free agent.
The 27-year-old central midfielder had a contract with Trabzonspor until May 2020.
The Turkish side had earlier informed Nigerian international Onazi to find another club, as his services were no longer needed.
The 2013 AFCON winning star only returned from a long-term injury layoff a few weeks ago but has not been able to reclaim a starting shirt in the side.
Trabzonspor have been enjoying a solid campaign so far with the Black Sea Storm currently in third place on the Super Lig table.
The side have 32 points from 17 games played, just one point behind second-placed Instabul Basaksehir, and five behind league leaders Sivasspor.
Al Wahda of Dubai was initially said to be interested in signing Onazi, after his agent is understood to have proposed the midfielder to the Abu Dhabi club.
Onazi himself has slammed reports that he could well be on his way out of Trabzonspor, even firing salvos at the Nigerian media for “fake news”. Onazi who recently returned from a lengthy injury, told AOIFootball.com from this team’s training base in Antalya, that he now wants to focus on the positives and also try to lead the club to an eventful end to the season.
“Glory be to God Almighty for his grace. New Year, New beginning. I have objectives for the year and unfinished business with my and club is to battle for the title. We are on course for that and I am working so hard to get to the level I was before my injury. This is my priority for now,” Onazi stated.
The Turkish outfit had just completed the signing of Stoke City midfielder, Badou Ndiaye, a situation that has further pushed the Nigerian down the pecking order at the club.
He played 20 games for Lazio during the campaign, although he became a more regular starter when Simone Inzaghi took over as coach in April. “I left Lazio for personal reasons,” said Onazi, who had two years left to run in his contract at the Stadio Olimpico, and had been offered a deal to extend it.
“It might be difficult for some people to understand my decision but this is a step forward in my career.
“The Lazio coach spoke to the management about keeping me. I was even offered a contract extension to stay but Trabzonspor provides a new lease of life. I will always be a Lazio fan because the club gave me the platform to be the player I am today.”
Former Lazio and Nigerian striker Ayodele Makinwa, the midfielder’s agent, said that Onazi would benefit from the move.
“He desperately wanted a change and new motivation,” said Makinwa. “Trabzonspor is one of the biggest clubs in Turkey and it is a stepping stone towards achieving his goals as a professional footballer. Joining a club fighting for the title will challenge and push him to the next level. He will definitely be one of the leaders in the team and this should serve as a motivation to achieve what he wants.”
Onazi began playing football in the streets of Jos, Plateau State, in 1998. His football skills and abilities drew a lot of attention to him and afforded him the opportunity to play in some academies in the city.
His footballing abilities came to prominence when he moved to Lagos to play for My People.
As a 16-year-old, Onazi represented his country at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where Nigeria finished runners-up. However, he was overlooked for selection at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup two years later, despite participating in the training camps in Portugal and Panama.
He made his debut for the senior national team in an Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Liberia.
Onazi was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 AFCON, where he played in every game. He was also named in Nigeria’s final squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and started in all four games as Nigeria were eliminated by France in the round of 16.