Super Eagles and Fulham stars Bassey, Iwobi reveals admiration for former PSG, Arsenal, Barcelona heroes

Fulham stars Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey have selected Augustine Jay-Jay Okocha as the best Nigerian to have ever played in the Premier League, reports.

Both players were admirers of Okocha during their formative years, captivated by his remarkable dribbling skills and penchant for showmanship.

The Nigerian legend, who secured victory in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with the Super Eagles in 1994, established his reputation across various European leagues, including Germany, France, England, and Turkey.

Okocha spent four years in the Premier League following his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Bolton Wanderers after the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

His arrival brought a touch of magic to the English top flight, dazzling spectators with his skillful maneuvers.

Despite not claiming any major silverware during his time in England, the 50-year-old left an enduring legacy and remains widely revered for his entertaining style of play and infectious smile.

Iwobi and Bassey concurred that Okocha is the epitome of Nigerian excellence in the Premier League.

Okocha, PSG
Okocha, PSG

Speaking on the Premier League’s Uncut show, Iwobi admitted his bias towards Okocha, given their familial connection.

At the same time, Bassey added Nwankwo Kanu to the discussion as another standout Nigerian player in the Premier League.

“I’m biased; I pick my uncle (Austin Okocha). I’m biased,” Iwobi stated.

Bassey added, “For me, Jay-Jay (Okocha) and (Nwankwo) Kanu,” the defender said
While Okocha was celebrated for his flamboyant approach, other Nigerian players made their mark in the English top flight.

Kanu’s tenure at Arsenal yielded two Premier League titles and two FA Cups, including involvement in Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles squad before later contributing to Portsmouth’s FA Cup triumph in the 2007/2008 season.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni also distinguished himself as one of the highest-scoring Africans in the Premier League, representing Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth, Middleborough, and Everton.

His tally of 95 goals in 252 matches places him fifth among the top African goal-scorers in the Premier League.

In recent years, Mikel Obi, a former Chelsea midfielder, further solidified Nigeria’s reputation in English football with his impressive achievements.

Reflecting on their childhood inspirations, Iwobi reaffirmed his admiration for his uncle Okocha, while Bassey expressed his childhood idolization of former Barcelona ace Thierry Henry, attributing it to his past as a striker before transitioning into a defender.

“I was a striker when I was young, and in my striking days, it was Thierry Henry,” Bassey said.

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Currently, Iwobi and Bassey are enjoying fruitful seasons with Fulham in the Premier League, with notable contributions, including goals in their remarkable 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in February.

While acknowledging the towering achievements of Nigerian greats before them, Iwobi has already etched his name in Premier League history, matching Kanu’s assist record and surpassing Mikel Obi’s minutes played milestone.