Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu has spoken openly about his absence from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and his disappointment at being left on the bench for the entirety of the 2018 edition of the Mundial in Russia.
Ogu was not included in the Eagles’ squad for the World Cup in Brazil by the late coach Stephen Keshi, but he did make the list under Gernot Rohr for that in Russia four years ago.
The 34-year-old made his debut in the 2013 World Cup qualifier against Kenya and came on in the 51st minute for the injured Victor Moses.
He also played in two other qualifiers against Kenya in the second leg and against Namibia.
Despite being invited for the rest of the qualifiers, the midfielder didn’t matter as he was left on the bench by the manager.
After a long absence from the squad, Ogu was recalled to the national team in 2017 by Franco-German Rohr for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria but played no part in the Adler’s 3-1 win in Uyo.
Despite traveling with the team to Russia, Ogu again missed a minute as Nigeria played Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D.
Speaking to Pulse Sports, the Kabilio Jaffa midfielder, who has made just 24 appearances for Nigeria, expressed shock at his lack of playing time with the team.
“The first World Cup I was supposed to go to, during a pre-World Cup match against Italy, I did well,” Ogu said.
“Everyone was sure that John Ogu would go to the World Cup. Even when Keshi said not everyone would make the team, I was sure I wasn’t one of 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 didn’t play a single qualifier. And so I missed this World Cup.”
He added: “And then another one was the last world championship, the dream (to go to the competition) came true and the man (pipe) didn’t even give me a minute.
“Even if I had to be on the pitch when the team needed me against Argentina, he didn’t bring me in. That was painful too.”
Ogu also recalled the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where Nigeria lost to Algeria, eventual winners of the tournament, in the semifinals.
“The second was the semifinals of AFCON 2019 where we lost to Algeria and couldn’t reach the final. It was tough even though I wasn’t on the pitch.”