“It’s harder to breathe” – Italy-born youngster describes Super Eagles debut

Rangers left-back Calvin Ughelumba Bassey has described how proud he was to make his international debut for Nigeria after coming off the bench in the Super Eagles’ 0-0 draw with Ghana’s Black Stars on Friday.

Bassey was eligible to play for three countries, having been born in Italy to Nigerian parents but raised in England.

But the youngster became cap-tied to the three-time African champions after replacing Porto fullback Zaidu Sanusi in the 74th minute. And he contributed two tackles and four successful passes in 16 minutes to help the Super Eagles avoid a first-leg defeat at an intimidating Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Bassey is honoured to have finally made his maiden appearance for the 2013 Afcon kings, but he insists African football is a lot more demanding than anything he had ever experienced.

The 22-year-old defender admits there were times against Ghana that he found it difficult to breathe, insisting he would need time to adjust.

But Bassey assures that winning is guaranteed over the Black Stars in the return leg.

“Obviously, we will get the win,” the Leicester City academy product told Scottish Daily.

“It was an honour to represent this great nation.

“Playing in Africa is a lot more physical; it’s just adjusting to the environment, the pitch, the weather, it’s harder to breathe, so it’s just adjusting to it.”

The Super Eagles will qualify for a seventh appearance at the FIFA World Cup with a win over Ghana at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday.

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