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Sports News of Thursday, 28 July 2022


Ogu opens up on World Cup regrets

Super Eagles midfielder, John Ogu, has opened up on not attending the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the disappointment of being left on the bench for the entire 2018 edition of the Mundial in Russia.

Ogu was not listed by late coach Stephen Keshi in the Eagles squad for the World Cup in Brazil, but he made the list under Gernot Rohr for the in Russia four years ago.

The 34-year-old made his senior debut in 2013 against Kenya during the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, coming on as a substitute for the injured Victor Moses in the 51st minute.

He also featured in two other qualifiers against Kenya in the reverse fixture and against Namibia.

Though he was invited for the remainder of the qualifiers, the midfielder didn’t play any part as he was left on the bench by the coach.

After being out of the squad for a long time, Ogu was recalled back to the national team by Franco-German Rohr in 2017, for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria, but he didn’t play any part in the Eagles 3-1 win in Uyo.

Despite travelling to Russia with the team, Ogu again didn’t see a minute of action as Nigeria played Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D.

Speaking with Pulse Sports, the Kabilio Jaffa midfielder, who had only made 24 appearances for Nigeria, expressed shock over his lack of playing time in the team.

“The first World Cup I was supposed to go to, during a pre-World Cup game against Italy, I did well,” Ogu said.

“Everyone was sure that John Ogu was going to go to the World Cup. Even when Keshi said that it was not everyone that would make the team, I was sure I wasn’t among those he was referring to.

“And then the list came out, my name wasn’t there. And the painful part was that, unlike me, some of the names on the list did not play one qualifying match. And that’s how I missed out on that World Cup.”

He added, “And then another one was the last World Cup, the dream (of going to competition) came true, and the man (Rohr) didn’t even give me one minute.

“Even when I needed to be on the pitch, when the team needed me against Argentina, he did not bring me in. That was painful too.”
Ogu also recalled the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where Nigeria lost to Algeria, the eventual winners of the tournament, in the semis.

“The second one was the semi-final of the 2019 AFCON, where we lost to Algeria and we couldn’t make the final. That was tough, even though I was not on the pitch.”