Revealed! How The New Jay Jay OKOCHA In Super Eagles - Reportgist

Revealed! How The New Jay Jay OKOCHA In Super Eagles

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Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, is the new Super Eagles player dubbed the new Jay Jay Okocha who wears the iconic number 10 Jersey for the National team. A number revered worldwide which has been worn by greats such as Brazilian great Pele, Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Dutch maestro Ruud Gullit, England superstar striker Gary Lineker and France legend Zinedine Zidane.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

In 2019, Dele-Bashiru revealed his admiration for former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, saying the retired superstar is his hero. “Jay-Jay Okocha is my hero. I just loved his playing style and watched videos of him all the time when I was growing up. He’s a big hero of mine, hence my style of play,” he said.

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He was part of the squad at the Under-20 World Cup in 2019 and scored in a 4-0 win over Qatar. “I’m very proud of my Nigerian roots,” he said. “It’s a great honour to play for my country and show everyone that Nigeria is a great breeding place for talent. It’s a massive country and we have massive support. Everyone there is a football fanatic so the country will be behind us during this tournament. We have got to make them proud,” he said.

In Nigeria, it has been donned by exceptional talents too, each bringing their unique flair to the pitch. The rise of Dele-Bashiru to this position has been nothing short of meteoric. He made an immediate impact in his first two games for Nigeria, providing an assist and winning a penalty against Mozambique in an international friendly on October 16, 2023, and then scoring a stunning equaliser against South Africa on his competitive debut in the 2026 World Cup qualifying series last month.

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The No.10 jersey has a storied history in Nigerian football. Late Muda Lawal was a beloved figure and Henry Nwosu followed in his footsteps, commanding the Eagles’ midfield with sheer brilliance. Etim Esin, nicknamed ‘Maradona’, brought flair but had a short-lived career. Austin Okocha, perhaps the most famous, dazzled fans with his skills, while Mikel Obi brought a different kind of leadership and tenacity to the role.

All these seem to have deserted the present Eagles since Mikel retired in 2019 and the Eagles have continued to struggle to keep pace in the engine room. The Eagles have looked so ordinary in the midfield since Mikel left as opponents run rings around the position, control the rhythm of the game and wreak havoc on the team’s defence at will.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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Joe Aribo was the last man to wear the jersey before Dele-Bashiru but he largely disappointed fans following a bright start to his Eagles career with goals in his first two games against Brazil and Ukraine in 2019. But it may now well be Dele-Bashiru who is best suited for this special jersey and the true heir to the great JJ Okocha. Born in Manchester to Nigerian parents, represented England at Under-16 level, but opted to play for Nigeria at the U20 and U23 levels.

The Hatayaspor man acknowledges the pressure that comes with pulling on the shirt. “Before going into a game, when you are wearing the No.10 Jersey for Nigeria, it’s a fantastic moment. “It’s a moment when you feel the pressure, but not negative pressure, it is a positive pressure knowing that you have to perform. And I think I perform better in situations where the stakes are high,” he said. Dele-Bashiru’s performance has not gone unnoticed by former Super Eagles stars who once wore the No.10 Jersey too.

Friday Ekpo, a former midfielder, praised his exceptional performance. “The guy was extraordinary against South Africa and I just pray he can keep doing what he has started and that he can keep up the tempo no matter the pressure. I want him to not dwell on any jersey but to always play to instruction and what he knows best,” Ekpo told PUNCH Sports Extra.

Ekpo also spoke about the pressure associated with being a No.10. “It all depends on the individual and how you look at it. The number is special and there is a motivating spirit in wearing that jersey and to your team. The belief is that once you are there, you must help them to win games.,” the former Super Eagles player said.

Also, Etim highlighted the multifaceted role of the No.10 – playmaker, assisted, and scorer – and expressed confidence in Dele-Bashiru’s ability to handle the pressure. “He is a potential star. For someone to wear No.10 for the country, you must have something extraordinary, so the boy is a potential star. He is the one who saved us against South Africa.

“It is a lot because you are carrying three roles in your head. You are a playmaker, you are the one to assist, you are the one to score, so, it’s a lot of pressure but if one meets up, they can be great and I think he can. I have watched him play and I think he can handle that pressure,” Etim said

Dele-Bashiru is a well-rounded player, capable of contributing both offensively and defensively. His versatility makes him a valuable asset, helping him excel in various roles on the pitch.

This skill set was honed at Manchester City’s youth academy, which he joined at eight. His development at such a prestigious club laid a strong foundation for his professional career.

Dele-Bashiru’s performances have not gone unnoticed this season. His impressive season in the Super Lig, where he scored eight goals and provided five assists, has attracted interest from top European clubs and Saudi Arabia.

Just last week, Sky Sports Italia reported that he is set to sign for SS Lazio of Italy on loan from Hatayspor. The report stated: “Super Eagles forward Fisayo Dele-Bashiru is set to complete a move to Italian Serie A club Lazio. “The 23-year-old Nigeria international could become new boss, Marco Barone’s third signing of the current window,” it reads.

According to Sky Sports Italia, the attacking midfielder, who currently plies his trade in Turkey with Hatayspor, could arrive in the Eternal City on an initial loan deal, but with an obligation to buy at the end of next season.

Sky claimed that Lazio’s initial interest was tempered by the fact that they were facing problems getting a work permit for the youngster, but that obstacle has been overcome and business can be concluded. After playing for the Manchester City youth team, whom he joined at the age of 8, he moved to Sheffield Wednesday in July 2020, signing for an undisclosed fee.

On 6 July 2023, it was confirmed he had joined Turkish Club Hatayspor on a three-year contract. He scored eight goals in his first Süper Lig season, finishing as the club’s joint-top scorer along with Carlos Strandberg, including a crucial goal on the final matchday in a 2–0 win over Rizespor, securing his club’s survival in the top tier.

Just 23 years old, when stepping out as the new No.10, he carries the legacy of Nigerian football greats and the hope of a nation currently watching the fading fortunes of their darling team. This young man’s early performances suggest he is ready to restore our missing play-making player since 2019 and turn around the fortunes of the national team. His journey is just beginning, and with his talent and determination, he has the potential to carve out his place amongst Nigeria’s football greats.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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