You are here: HomeSports2023 01 17Article 622109

Soccer News of Tuesday, 17 January 2023


'This boy can defend' - Feyenoord legend Hanegem believes Bassey has been scapegoated at Ajax

Calvin Bassey Calvin Bassey

The Nigeria international has been subjected to intense criticism from nearly every corner since making a big-money move in the summer

Willem van Hanegem says Super Eagles defender Calvin Bassey has been an easy scapegoat at Ajax Amsterdam, with the Feyenoord legend proposing a reason why the youngster has been far from his best yet in the Netherlands.

Calvin Bassey made waves in Scotland and the Europa League last season with a string of excellent performances at centre-back, full-back, and wing-back before earning a record move to Amsterdam in the summer.

But his displays for Ajax have constantly been criticised, with the Nigeria international often hounded for his limited passing range and defensive nous at centre-back.

Incredibly, Ajax have not won any of their last five league matches and the champions were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Twente at the weekend.

Ajax finished that game with ten men as Devyne Rensch received a red card for a silly tackle on Twente striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The youngster had been preferred at centre-back ahead of Bassey who played at left-back.

Still the critics, including former Real Madrid man Wesley Sneijder, have picked easy shots at Bassey.

Former Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht coach Willem van Hanegem is convinced that Bassey has been unfairly treated and wrongly deployed in Amsterdam and is an easy target for blame.

What has been said?

Van Hanegem claims that the former Leicester City lad would even be blamed for a cup of tea being spilled in Ajax when close observation shows he is a proper defender.

“This boy can really defend, but they constantly put him in situations for which he is less suitable as a player,” Willem van Hanegem writes in his Algemeen Dagblad column.

“Ajax was always the club that could destroy teams by playing football from behind. That is not possible with Jorge Sánchez, Bassey and Devyne Rensch. Jurriën Timber does have those capacities, but they have not improved for some time at halftime and afterwards again about Bassey, because if someone in the Johan Cruyff Arena knocks over a cup of tea, then he has done it.

“I think Bassey would never have made that mistake. Rensch was one-on-one against Ricky van Wolfswinkel, not really a fast striker. And he was so surprised. Unbelievable as far as I’m concerned.”

Bassey, 23, has made 14 Eredivisie appearances scoring one goal and providing two assists.