Bassey bullish ahead of Nigeria vs South Africa: ‘Bafana didn’t see the best of us at AFCON’

Super Eagles defender Calvin Bassey has issued a warning to Bafana Bafana ahead of the Nigeria vs South Africa 2026 World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Friday.

Nigeria are winless in two games and realistically need to win on Friday to revive their hopes of qualifying for the next World Cup.

The two teams last met in the semi-finals of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), with Nigeria emerging victorious via a penalty shootout.

Calvin Bassey ahead of Nigeria vs South Africa: 'Bafana didn't see the best of us at AFCON'
Photo by Icon Sport

Calvin Bassey: Super Eagles can still go up several levels

Speaking to NFF Media, the 24-year-old reflected on their previous encounter and the Super Eagles‘ progress since the AFCON, stating that despite their most recent meeting was a close affair, South Africa have yet to face the best version of Nigeria.

“I think we know how strong they were,” Bassey said. “The game went to penalties to show that we both pushed each other to the extent. We know what to expect from them and we are ready for that.

“Everyone knows how good we are now. Everyone doubted us at the AFCON, and we were able to get to the final.

“I do not feel like we showed them all of what we have, and I think we still have more gears to go; we have a team that has been together for about two years, and I think we are building something.”

Calvin Bassey ahead of Nigeria vs South Africa: 'Bafana didn't see the best of us at AFCON'
Photo by Icon Sport

“Even though we are an experienced team, we are still a young team. We have to work on that, and when we have the vital moments during the game, we take our chances.”

Nigeria vs South Africa: Full house in Super Eagles camp, Bafana arrive

The Nigerian squad began their preparations for the upcoming match on June 1.

However, several players were delayed due to a nationwide strike organised by labour unions.

Bassey, along with Semi Ajayi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Frank Onyeka, and Paul Onuachu, eventually joined the team in Uyo on Tuesday. Bafana Bafana arrived Nigeria on Wednesday on a chartered flight.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as and Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.