Onyedikachi Ononogbu has been overlooked for the South Africa’s AFCON 23 squad, and the South African-Nigerian forward has now pinned his hopes on Nigeria.
Ononogbu, who plays his football for Tshakhuma Tsha Madzhivhandila in the lower first division, was born in Johannesburg to a South African mother and Nigeria dad. Yet to make any senior national team appearance, the 21-year-old remains eligible to play for either nation
"I was born in Johannesburg hospital in Jozi," Ononogbu told Kick Off. "My father is Nigerian then my old lady [mother] is Swati from here in South Africa in Mpumalanga, in Barberton. I'm not sure what brought my father to South Africa because they were already married when they gave birth to me.”
"I grew up in the kasi. I knew from a very young age that my father was from Nigeria but according to me I am not a Nigerian.”
"My football career started at Stars of Africa Academy. They saw me when my local team played a friendly with them and I was invited for trials. Then from there I went to Baberwa, then from Baberwa I came here to Tshakuma.”
While Ononogbu came close to playing for Bafana Bafana in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament, the player never got a chance to step onto the grass.
"I went to CHAN with Bafana Bafana but I didn't get any game-time. I have also never represented the junior national teams."
The chat did not conclude without Ononogbu, (also with the middle South African name Nkosinathi) answering whether he would drop his South African dream for the famous green jersey of Nigeria - given a chance.
"I will go. I will take any opportunity that will come. I will go because I have no cap here in South Africa. I'm available to represent any of the two countries,” he concluded.