COMMENT

Is the Super Eagles door entirely closed to John Ogu?

34-year-old John Ogu has not played for the Super Eagles in three years but could that be changing soon?

John Ogu last played for the Super Eagles in 2019

On the third anniversary of John Ogu's last Super Eagles appearance, it's worth casting thoughts back to his time with that national team and if that chapter is entirely closed.

June 30, 2019, was the last time John Ogu was seen in a Super Eagles jersey, he started in midfield for Nigeria but was substituted at halftime.

That was Ogu's one and only appearance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the 2-0 defeat to Madagascar, as he remained an unused substitute for the rest of the tournament which the Super Eagles ended with the bronze medal.

To this day, John Ogu has not been called up to the Super Eagles squad and probably rightly so…but what has the midfielder been up to since then?

After his 25th and last Super Eagles game to date, the then 31-year-old Ogu was a free agent following the expiration of his contract with Hapoel Beer Sheva.

Despite having played five good years in the Israeli top flight and being a Nigerian international at the time, Ogu struggled to find a new club for reasons that remain unclear.

He spent the summer after the 2019 AFCON officially without a club but unofficially training with Enugu Rangers and even played two games for the club until January 2020 when he joined Saudi Arabian club, Al-Adalah on a short-term contract.

Six months and seven appearances later, Ogu was clubless again and would remain that way till February 2022 when Israeli club Hapoel Nof HaGalil FC came calling.

And although Ogu played nine games at the tail end of the season, he couldn't do enough to help his team avoid instant relegation from the Israeli first division and was subsequently a free agent once more.

However, this time he wouldn't stay clubless for long, as the now-fit Ogu recently signed for Maccabi Kabilio Jaffa, an Israeli second division team where he will play next season.

With John Ogu, the talent was hardly ever in dispute, a hybrid midfielder who could play as a defensive, central and attacking midfielder and even played centre and left-back roles in the past.

A utility player who ultimately failed to carve a niche and also battled with fitness issues but was undoubtedly a good player on his day.

And although he has fought tooth and nail to put his career back on track since 2019, the Super Eagles' ship may have already sailed, not impossible but rather improbable at this moment.

To further prove that Ogu's Eagles chapter may not be entirely closed yet, Ogenyi Onazi was named in a provisional 32-man list in March which was the veteran midfielder's first invite in four years.

Although he didn't make the final squad, his surprise inclusion offers hope to John Ogu who has played in the national team more recently than Onazi and still has a chance to do so again…albeit a very slim chance.

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