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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Eddy Onazi

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Ogenyi Eddy Onazi was born on December 25, 1992, in Jos, Nigeria.


He started playing football in his homeland for El-Kanemi Warriors, My People, Bodens BK and then My People again.


In 2009 Lazio took an interest in him when watching him play in the U19 World Cup. Nigeria were losing finalists to Switzerland and Onazi had a good tournament.


Lazio brought him to Rome in January 2011. At first he played for the "Primavera" (U19's) but then was added to Edy Reja's first team squad. He made his debut in the penultimate game of the season against Atalanta, playing the last five minutes in place of Senad Lulic. Lazio came 4th and won both derbies.


In 2012-13 Vladimir Petkovic became Lazio manager. On September 20 Onazi got his first start in a Europa League game against Tottenham. His first goals came on March 7 in Europe against Stuttgart and on May 8 in Serie A against Inter (a cracking shot from 31 metres). In his first full season he made 15 league appearances with 1 goal, 2 in Coppa Italia and 11 in UEL with 1 goal. Lazio finished 7th but won the derbies of all derbies and won the Coppa Italia on May 26, 2013. Onazi was one of the heroes playing 92 minutes.


The following season, first under Petkovic and then Reja again, Onazi had possibly his best season playing 29 league games with 1 goal (Napoli), 2 in Coppa Italia, 8 In UEL with 1 goal (Trabzonspor) plus the Italian Supercoppa final. Lazio finished 9th and lost the final to Juventus 4-0.


In 2014-15 Stefano Pioli arrived as manager. Lazio had an excellent season finishing 3rd. Onazi played 16 league games with 1 goal (Napoli) and 3 games in Coppa Italia. His goal in Napoli in the last game of the season was decisive for Lazio's Champions League preliminary qualification. Lazio also reached the Coppa Italia final but lost 2-1 to Juventus after extra-time.


In 2015-16 Pioli started but was later replaced by Simone Inzaghi. Onazi played 15 league games with 1 goal (Empoli), 2 in Champions League, 4 in UEL plus the Super Coppa final. Lazio finished 8th and lost the Super Coppa final against Juventus, again, 2-0.


In 2016 Eddy left Lazio. He joined Trabzonspor in Turkey. He played three and a half seasons for the "Karadeniz Firtinasi" (Black Sea Storm). He played a total of 79 games (69 in league) and scored 5 goals (4 in league).


In January 2020 he stayed in Turkey but joined Denizlispor in the SüperLig. Onazi did not last long in South-West Turkey and left after only 10 appearances (9 SL and 1 in Cup).


In July 2020 he moved to Denmark and joined SønderjyskE (Haderslev) in the Danish Super league. Here in central Denmark he stayed even less and left in February after playing 3 games (2 in SL and 1 in Cup).


In 2021 he moved to Lithuania and joined Zalgiris Vilnius. Here he played more, 28 games (19 in A, 2 in Cup, 6 in CL, 1 in Supercup) and scored 2 league goals and 1 in CL. The "Žaliai Balti" (The Green Whites) won the Lithuanian league.


In 2022 Onazi returned to Italy and joined Casertana in Serie D. In Campania he played 8 league games.


In 2023 he joined East Riffa in Bahrein where he is currently playing.


At international level Onazi earned an impressive 53 caps for Nigeria with 1 goal (Venezuela). He played in the 2014 World Cup, reaching the last 16, and won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013.


Onazi is central midfielder. He is not particularly tall at 1,73 metres but is extremely dynamic. He is good at pressing and breaking opposition play. He is also capable of sudden attacking excursions using his speed and athleticism to throw himself into spaces (well sort of) which is an ability he could have used more in his career.


At Lazio he played a total of 110 games with 7 goals. He is remembered with affection by the fans, for the vital goal in Naples and his legacy is immortal for playing the winning 2013 derby cup final. He will forever be one of the heroes who lifted the Coppa Italia "in faccia" (in the face) of their eternal rivals on May 26, 2013. "Onazi l'unico nazi che ci piace" forever.


Lazio career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League

Europa League

Super Coppa

2011-12

1

1

-

-

-

-

2012-13

28 (2)

15 (1)

2

-

11 (1)

-

2013-14

40 (2)

29 (1)

2

-

8 (1)

1

2014-15

19 (1)

16 (1)

3

-

-

-

2015-16

22 (2)

15 (1)

-

2

4 (1)

1

Total

110 (7)

76 (4)

7

2

23 (3)

2

Sources


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