I'm sure every Norwich City fan would have to admit that Sebastien Bassong has been our best central defender this season. We definitely look more likely to keep out the goals when the Cameroon player is in the team.
However, Norwich fans would have been concerned that the defender was due to be missing during the African Cup of Nations. Unfortunately, we have already seen that the defence can turn into a bit of a shambles when Bassong isn't there.
Therefore, it seems that the footballing gods are smiling on the Canaries after Cameroon failed to qualify for the tournament. Obviously playing for your country is a privilege that you would not want to deny of any professional sportsperson.
However, we would prefer those international games to take place outside of the regular season, or between Premier League games. The problem with the African Cup of Nations is the timing of the tournament.
The 2013 tournament will be hosted by South Africa and will run from January 19 to February 10 2013. The influx of African players into the Premier League makes the scheduling of the tournament particularly troublesome.
Nevertheless, it now looks like Norwich City won't be disadvantaged by it, but I suppose that is the advantage of having a predominantly British squad. Fans will just hope that injuries and suspensions do not put Bassong out of action during the course of the season.
I know by watching the games this season that Norwich City have been well beaten three times, but the defeats against Liverpool and Chelsea didn't come as a massive surprise. It was the Fulham game that was the real disappointment. Nevertheless, we can let that slide based on the fact it was Chris Hughton's first competitive game in charge.
The remaining four league games may have only produced three points, but the performances have been decent enough. It was also encouraging that Norwich only conceded one goal in each of those games.
I get the impression that Hughton is keen to build his team on a strong defensive base. Sebastien Bassong may not be an official captain, but he is the player that should be given licence to organise the defence.
The Canaries will lose more games this season and concede plenty more goals. However, it's how they perform in the games that matter, in those games in and around them in the league that will really make the difference.
I am confident that with Bassong in the team, Norwich will remain in the game for long enough. The question will be a matter of can they can take their chances when they come along, that will secure those vital wins.
And if Grant Holt is seen as our most important striker, then surely Sebastien Bassong must be considered our most important defender. And the fact that he will be in Norfolk when the African Cup of Nations is ongoing, may be the difference between staying in the Premier League and getting relegated.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sebastien Bassong
- Norwich City
- African Cup of Nations
- Premier League