Nigeria had qualified for six of the previous seven editions of the Mundial but failed at the final hurdle in the race for Qatar 2022
Glasgow Rangers defender Calvin Bassey admits he still feels the pain of not helping the Super Eagles make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar between November and December this year.
Bassey was not involved as Nigeria made it past Cape Verde and the Central African Republic to top their World Cup qualifying group last year.
But the 22-year-old earned his first two Super Eagles caps in March during the final playoff doubleheader against bitter West African rivals Ghana.
The Black Stars managed a goalless draw on home soil in Kumasi but secured a 1-1 draw in Abuja to edge the Super Eagles on aggregate and book their place in Qatar at the expense of Bassey and co.
Qatar 2022 would have been Bassey’s first appearance at the World Cup, and the Rangers full-back confesses he still feels the pain of missing out on the greatest football fiesta on planet earth.
“It was hard because everybody was excited about the opportunity of playing at the World Cup and how big it is,” the former Leicester City academy product told Brila.
“It still hurt a bit, but we’ve got a lot of games coming up, and we have to remain focused.”
Bassey, who is constantly linked with many big European clubs, including Chelsea and Bayern Munich, after an excellent season in Scotland and Europe, is focusing on the future with the Super Eagles, though.
The versatile centre-back excelled as Nigeria lost 2-1 to Mexico on Sunday.
Another friendly match against South American side Ecuador is scheduled for Thursday before attention turns to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June.
The Super Eagles will trade tackles with Sierra Leone and Mauritius, and Bassey insists getting positive results in both games is non-negotiable.
“We are excited about the next phase, and hopefully, we can start the African Cup Nations qualifiers on a good note and get a win in both games,” the youngster said.