African All Stars

Rangers and Nigeria defender Bassey reveals Jay-Jay Okocha ‘was my role model’

15:31 EAT 12/12/2021
Calvin Bassey - Rangers
The 21-year-old Super Eagle reveals his readiness to feature for the team at the Afcon and why he adores the former Bolton player

Rangers defender Calvin Bassey has named former Nigeria player Jay-Jay Okocha as his role model when he was growing up.

The 21-year-old Super Eagle is currently flourishing under new Ibrox manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst since he arrived to take charge following the exit of Steven Gerrard, who moved to Premier League side Aston Villa.

Under the former Arsenal defender, Bassey has managed five straight matches for Rangers and now has aspirations of receiving a call up to Nigeria's Afcon squad.

Bassey, who was eligible to play for Italy, Nigeria, or England at the international level but opted for the West African nation, also revealed his hero was the former Bolton Wanderers wizard.

"There is no doubt we have plenty of quality in the national team. Joe Aribo plays with me and he knows what I can do,” Bassey said as quoted by Daily Record. “I will bring energy and physicality to the Eagles’ defence and will also bring a bit of doggedness to African football.

"I know it will be physical, but I think that will play to my strengths. Growing up and watching the Super Eagles, Jay-Jay Okocha was my role model.

“He was so confident in the ball and that's something I love to emulate. He was not scared to take on players and express himself and he was a joy to watch."

Bassey is now desperate to keep his starting role and hoping to make the Nigeria squad for the Africa Cup of Nations set for Cameroon from January 9 to February 6.

Nigeria under German coach Gernot Rohr have been drawn in Group D of the competition alongside Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan.

They will kick off their campaign with a game against the Pharaohs at Roumde Adjia Stadium on January 11; take on Sudan in their second fixture on January 15 before winding up their group matches with a clash against Guinea-Bissau on January 19.

In 2021, Bassey committed his international future to Nigeria when he accepted a call-up for their 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers but he did not make his debut.