Bassey injury concern for Nigeria ahead of Portugal friendly as defender replaced during Ajax draw

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Calvin Bassey of Ajax and Nigeria.
Calvin Bassey might not be available for Nigeria’s friendly match with Portugal next week after sustaining an injury on Saturday.
  • Bassey suffered an injury during Saturday’s match
  • Defender replaced at half-time after struggling in the first half
  • The 22-year-old is a doubt for Thursday’s friendly with Portugal

WHAT HAPPENED? Bassey went down in the 41st minute of Ajax Amsterdam’s 3-3 draw with FC Emmen after landing awkwardly. He got up and continued for a while but he was back on the floor a few minutes later and received treatment on the pitch before he limped on to finish the first half.

He was, however, replaced at half-time with Daley Blind coming in for him in the second half.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Bassey was among the defenders called up for the November 17 friendly match against Portugal in Lisbon by Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro on Friday, but might not be available if he does not recover in time.

Although the extent of the injury is still not known, his possible absence would be a blow to the Super Eagles who will be coming up against a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal that possesses plenty of attacking threats.

The defender has been a key figure in coach Alfred Schreuder’s Ajax, with the coach selecting him in 18 straight matches, despite criticism from club legends over his performances and ball-playing abilities.

Saturday’s draw extended Ajax’s winless run to three matches in a week following defeat to PSV Eindhoven last weekend before Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Vitesse Arnhem.

Ghana midfielder Mohammed Kudus was a second-half substitute, coming on for Dutch striker Brian Brobbey but failed to score despite getting two good opportunities as his team blew away a 3-1 lead to draw.

ALL EYES ON: Bassey has been in the eye of the storm in the last week but he put in a good shift before he was replaced, and it was after he went off that Ajax conceded twice.

THE VERDICT: The Eredivisie champions’ confidence has waned in recent matches, managing just one win in a five-game period where they have lost twice and drawn as many with their last clean sheet coming on September 10.

WHAT’S NEXT? Bassey will be hoping that the injury is not so bad to allow him to turn out for Nigeria on Thursday.