Glasgow Rangers hot commodity Calvin Bassey Ughelumba is only but marking time at left back before he finally pulls down the “Oyinbo Wall” to take full charge in the heart of the Super Eagles defence in nearest future, IKENWA NNABUOGOR assures…
It was the former Eagles coach Gernot Rohr who first wanted versatile defender Calvin Bassey in his team and it seemed the Franco-German hit the bull’s eye with this target after he finally made his international debut in March.
Bassey had also kept up the pace at Rangers with breathtaking performances at the heart of Rangers defence to keep alive his Eagles dreams.
The former Leicester City Academy star would make his Eagles dreams come through earlier than he thought when ex-coach Augustine Eguavoen included him in the squad that lost the 2022 Qatar World Cup ticket to Ghana.
Bassey had done well enough in the double header World Cup qualifiers playoffs in Kumasi and Abuja to earn the Eagles handlers confidence for another invite.
Meanwhile, back at Rangers after the Abuja debacle, Bassey remained a rock in the Scottish champions defence, helping his side to the final of the UEFA Europa League final, before they eventually lost to Eintracht Frankfurt.
New coach Jose Peseiro, who replaced Eguavoen after he failed in his mission to qualify to Qatar, grabbed Bassey for continuity and the Italy-born star left the US pitches in Arlington and New Jersey on a high with Man-of-the-Match performances to the bargain to set tongues wagging back home.
Bassey’s new song has been on the lips of the national team handlers at Eagles left back since he replaced FC Porto star Zaidu Sanusi in the infamous missed flight to Qatar in Kumasi, leaving Sanusi with no choice than to click on the fifth gear to reclaim his place.
Bassey would continue reminding the Porto left back, who also wrestled the left back position from Cardiff City new signing Jamilu Collins, that he too may soon be observing from the dugout.
Bassey doesn’t appear to be under pressure from the “Iron Man” Sanusi as he came from the USA tour smelling of roses and eyeing yet another nod at left back as the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers present Sierra Leone and Sao Tome & Principe as their latest adversaries.
Peseiro could decide to make Sanusi, who returns to the 2023 AFCON qualifiers roster after sitting out the US friendlies, observe from the bench once again as Bassey’s performances in the US received the approval of the fans.
Interestingly, Bassey isn’t a left back any longer at the Scottish Cup champions but used the left back route to “infiltrate” the Eagles ranks which is looking like a rather short-term thing, while it appears his long-term destination is the heart of the defence, whose lines enemies have crossed without fear, judging by his solid performances at Ibrox.
The defensive pair of his Rangers mate Leon Balogun and Watford star and stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong has seemingly lost the robustness for which it was admired by fans and dreaded by opponents.
Balogun, for one, has endured injury worries to limit featuring alongside Ekong, while Ekong has blown hot and cold in recent times, leaving the “Oyinbo Wall” vulnerable even when up against “small” countries.
Balogun’s injury woes meant he missed the last AFCON in Cameroon, where the Eagles surprisingly exited the tournament courtesy of an odd goal by Tunisia.
Speed has never been the asset of the “Oyinbo Wall”, but now more than ever before they have been reduced to chasing shadows of fast strikers.
Bassey’s impressive outings in the heart of defence for the Scottish giants both in the domestic league and in Europe cannot be wished away now that the “Oyinbo Wall” is cracking by the day.
Rangers manager Geovanni van Bronckhorst inherited left back Bassey whose contributions were seriously limited and not before long, he’s currently marshaling the Ibrox defence with so much assurance and relish and attracting Premier League clubs for a major summer transfer.
Peseiro’s stand may not be different from van Bronckhorst’s and soon we will see if Bassey will break down the “Oyinbo Wall”.