Enyimba of Aba pocket-sized midfielder Chukwuka Onuwa feels he is routinely snubbed by national team coaches who “look down” on his height and deny him the opportunity to play for Nigeria’s various national teams.
The diminutive playmaker has delighted fans in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) for a number of seasons since he came to the limelight at former club MFM FC who he helped to a second place finish in 2017 and a place in the CAF Champions League in only their second season in the topflight.
His exploits that season earned him cult status among fans who nicknamed him “Magic 10” and voted him named MFM’s Player of The Year in 2017.
It came as a bit of a shock that he was overlooked by former Super Eagles Chief Coach Salisu Yusuf for the 2018 CHAN tournament in Morocco with many observers of the opinion that we was deserving of a place in that squad. He was also left out of the national team squad that faced off against Atletico Madrid in a pre-World Cup friendly and has failed to represent Nigeria at any age grade level.
Having moved to seven times NPFL champions Enyimba ahead of the 2018/2019 season to boost his chances of playing for Nigeria, Onuwa who says he models his game on reigning 2018 FIFA Best Player Luka Modric fears his stature might have counted against him in the past but feels that just like his role model, a lack of height shouldn’t count against him from performing for Nigeria if the opportunity arises.
“I don’t know [why I haven’t earned a call up yet],” he told busybuddiesng.com. “Perhaps the coaches have been looking down on my height, but I believe height is not everything and my height can even help the team a lot just like Luka Modric, Andries Iniesta and [Lionel] Messi.
“I model my game in the style of Luka Modric. I want to help the national team of my country and I pray one day when I have the call up I’m going to grab it with my two hands and give my best I’m just waiting for that opportunity and I believe God for everything and I believe soon it’s going to come.”
With Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr having released his squad of 23 players for the dead-rubber 22nd March 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles, Onuwa will have to bide his time for an opportunity to represent the senior national side. But at 22 years, he still is eligible for the U23 national team who will be looking to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Onuwa says he is more than willing to play for Nigeria at any level.
“If I am called upon to come and play for the national team – the Super Eagles or anywhere – I will go and give my all for my team,