By Johnny Edward:
The chances of Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi joining English Championship side Birmingham City may have hit the rocks after the 24-year-old was denied a British work permit, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Onazi had agreed personal terms with Birmingham but the new English FA rules considering the FIFA ranking of players’ national teams ensured the deal fell through.
According to the new rule, the British Home Office has agreed that non-EEA (European Economic Area) players will have to meet a minimum percentage of international matches played for their country over the previous 24-month period, as determined by that country’s FIFA world ranking.
The new rule also reduced the eligible ranked nations from the top 70 to the top 50, with new appearance requirements depending on the status of the nation.
Nigeria are ranked 38th in the FIFA ranking for August 2017 but finished 54th on aggregate over the last two years.
A disappointed Ayodele Makinwa, Onazi’s agent, refused to explain when Completesportsnigeria.com reached him.
“We are just calm about this and will explore other options,” the ex-international said.