Dele-Bashiru makes case for Super Eagles call-up with 8th goal of the season

Nigeria midfielder Fisayo Dele-Bashiru continued with his impressive form in the Turkish Super Lig after his goal helped Hatayspor to claim a 2-2 draw against Besiktas on Saturday. The 23-year-old put his side 2-1 ahead in the second half, but they were unable to protect the lead and allowed Besiktas to snatch the equaliser deep into injury time.

Dele-Bashiru has been one of the bright spots in the Hatayspor team as they aim to avoid relegation. Ozhan Pulat’s side have been struggling this season, and went into Saturday’s game on the back of just two wins in their previous 14 matches in all competitions.

However, they turned up against Besiktas and nearly pulled off an upset against the hosts at the Tupras Stadium. Despite going into the game as underdogs, Hatayspor took the lead twice, and were seconds away from recording a huge victory over Besiktas before they were denied the three points via a late penalty.

Having repelled the early pressure from Besiktas, Massanga Matondo opened the scoring for the visitors against the run of play. Five minutes after the restart, though, Besiktas restored parity through Gedson Fernandes, who had replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at half-time.

Fisayo Dele-Bashiru nets eighth goal of the season against Besiktas

Besiktas’ equaliser didn’t last before Hatayspor scored again to go 2-1 in front, this time Dele-Bashiru finding the back of the net after being set up by Carlos Strandberg. But the hosts would snatch the equaliser in the seventh minute of added time after they were awarded a penalty.

Another substitute Vincent Aboubakar would step up and convert to make it 2-2 as both teams shared the spoils. The result, however, lifted Hatayspor above the relegation zone and a point ahead of 18th-placed Fatih Karagumruk with just one match left to the end of the season.

On an individual level, Dele-Bashiru also notched his seventh league goal of the season as he continues to shine in the Turkish top-flight. The 23-year-old has also provided six assists in the ongoing campaign, highlighting his creative prowess in the attacking third.

Dele-Bashiru is in his first year in Turkey after joining Hatayspor from Sheffield Wednesday last year. The midfielder has, however, adapted seamlessly to top-flight football and is currently having the most productive campaign of his fledgling career. Dele-Bashiru is a product of the Manchester City academy, but left the Cityzens in 2020 in search of regular first-team football.

Fisayo Dele-Bashiru continues to knock on Super Eagles doors ahead of World Cup qualifiers

While he took the unconventional route to move to League One side Sheffield Wednesday, he helped the club gain promotion to the English Championship before securing a transfer to Hatayspor in June 2023.

Dele-Bashiru’s form in Turkey hasn’t gone unnoticed by the technical handlers of the Nigeria national team, having received regular invites in recent times. The midfielder was first invited to the Super Eagles squad last September and made his international debut in a friendly against Mozambique in the same month.

Although he wasn’t included in Jose Peseiro’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, he was part of newly appointed Nigeria head coach Finidi George’s inaugural squad for the international friendlies against Ghana and Mali in March.

The 23-year-old was on the bench for both games and didn’t play any minutes, but his call-up suggests he’s rated very highly by George. With the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers set to resume next month, Dele-Bashiru’s current form increases his chances of getting a recall to the national team.

Nigeria will face South Africa on 7 June in Uyo before taking on Benin in an away fixture that will be played at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, and both are must-win games, especially after the Super Eagles failed to win any of their opening two qualifying matches.

Dele-Bashiru has been knocking on the doors of the national team for some time now, and he might get his chance under George soon, even if that doesn’t happen during next month’s World Cup qualifiers. 

Dele-Bashiru makes case for Super Eagles call-up with 8th goal of the season
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.