WC Qualification Africa

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Rangers’ Bassey calls for focus ahead of ‘massive’ Ghana clash

12:22 WAT 23/03/2022
Calvin Bassey
The Super Eagles have good players but cannot afford to rest on their laurels against the Black Stars, according to the defender

Calvin Bassey has urged his Nigeria teammates to stay focused ahead of Friday’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification play-off against Ghana.

The Super Eagles are eyeing a place in the global football showpiece for the seventh time, however, they must negotiate their way past eternal rivals, the Black Stars.

All eyes will be on Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi for the first leg, before both teams fly to the MKO Abiola Stadium for the reverse fixture - with the winners on aggregate earning a ticket to Qatar 2022.

Having in mind what is at stake against Otto Addo’s men, the Rangers defender - who could make his international debut against Ghana - wants his teammates to stay energised for the blockbuster fixture. 

“It’s a massive game. I’m just focusing on how I can help the team, focus on what to do, what I need to do and my roles are going to be,” Bassey told NFF TV

“The biggest thing is to get focused and get locked in because It is going to be a test. We  know they are a good team, we also have good players and a good team.”

Since their first meeting in this competition on August 28, 1960 - where Nigeria bowed 4-1 in Accra - the two nations have met on the football field on seven occasions, with the Super Eagles winning twice.

The Ghanaians have had the upper hand in two fixtures while the remaining four have ended in draws.

Echoing this optimism is coach Augustine Eguavoen, who is satisfied with the Super Eagles’ performance in training on Tuesday evening.

“I am very satisfied, you can see that the boys are ready to go,” he told the media.

“The good thing is that they are in season, they are in form and their confidence is very high. No injury worries and I am very satisfied with what we saw in our first training session, one hour, 15 minutes.

“Hopefully, we’ll have two more training sessions before the game, anything more than that will be suicidal. It is more of tactical talks than physicality now. We are ready to go.” 

The 56-year-old also talked about the absence of Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

“I got a message from Maduka Okoye, that he is going to come but we have a backup in John Noble who is going join us. If Maduka recovers and joins us there is no problem. but we have Noble as a backup,” he concluded.