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Monday, January 3, 2022

AFCON: My club once asked me to fake injury to avoid playing for Nigeria – John Ogu

Nigerian midfielder, John Ogu, has revealed how a club manager in Portugal asked him to lie about getting injured, to avoid representing his country.

Ogu was told to lie but ignored the manager’s hint and honoured the international call-up, which consequently made him lose his regular playing spot.

Ogu is unsurprised by how European clubs are trying to stop players from participating at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and has shared his own experiences of balancing club and country responsibilities in light of Watford’s resistance to release Emmanuel Dennis for this month’s continental showpiece in Cameroon.

Ogu recalled how a Portuguese club told him not to go for international duty with the Super Eagles because they needed his services at the same time.

He was told to lie but ignored the manager’s hint and honoured the international call-up which consequently made him lose his regular playing spot.

As a result, he subsequently missed the 2014 Fifa World Cup with Stephen Keshi’s Eagles in Brazil.

“I’m not even surprised at the situation of the foreign managers or clubs not wanting their players to go represent their country in tournaments,” Ogu tweeted.

“One certain manager in Portugal asked [that] I tell the coach of Eagles then that I was injured so as not to go for a friendly game.

“After I left, went back to the club, he stopped playing me, and this was prior to the World Cup coming that year.

“I made mentioned if it here and many out here said I was lying and so on. Una don see how them be now?”

Ogu, who ultimately missed out on the 2014 tournament, has been without a club in 2020.

“I missed out on that World Cup list,” he continued. “The evil part of it was when the list came out and he found out I wasn’t invited, man walk up to me and asked I call the manager to list me and that if he wants, he can start me in the last game in the league. I was shocked how evil one can be

“Dennis had been named in Nigeria’s squad to contest the upcoming Afcon, but will now remain with Watford for the duration of the campaign.

“The disrespect to Africans and it football tournaments, they don’t rate any of them at all,” Ogu concluded. “We have seen so many tournaments [that] Fifa and Uefa already introduced in world football, but when it comes to Africa and Africans, it’s always a different case.”

Football fans in Nigeria have slammed Dennis on social media for choosing to play for Watford instead of attending the AFCON with Eagles who will be missing key players such as Victor Osimhen, Paul Onuachu, Leon Balogun and Shehu Abdullahi.

I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and '[email protected]hesportsbay.com'

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