Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bazee doubtful for London friendlies


Festus Abu

German-born Hannover 96 forward Noah Joel Bazee may have to wait to make his Nigeria debut as he faces a battle to be fit for the friendly games against Senegal on March 23 and Burkina Faso on March 27. Both matches will be played in London.

The 20-year-old, whose father is a Nigerian and his mother a German, switched his international allegiance to Nigeria following pressure from the Super Eagles German manager Gernot Rohr.

Rohr, who is said to be enthralled by the 1.82m right midfielder's directness, pace, power, trickery and his ability to find the killer pass, listed the player in his 25-man squad for the two warm-up matches ahead of the Eagles' 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June, as well as their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against Cameroon on August 28 and September 2.

Reports said Rohr believes the teenager, who plies his trade with the Reds in the German Bundesliga 2, could provide the creative spark on the right side of the midfield in place of Leicester City's Ahmed Musa, who has been struggling for form since he joined the Premier League champions from CSKA Moscow on a four-year contract for a fee of around 16m in the summer.

But Hannover confirmed on their Twitter handle on Wednesday that Bazee was down with a knee injury and needed treatment. Martin Harnik, Kenan Karaman, Felix Klaus and Charlison Benschop are other players who suffered knocks.

Hannover manager Daniel Stendel was forced to send Bazee out of the team's training on Wednesday as he could not continue due to his knee problem.

Bazee, who came from the bench to help his team beat 1860 Munich 1-0 in their league fixture at HDI-Arena at the weekend to keep alive their Bundesliga promotion dream, could miss the trip to St. Pauli at Millerntor-Stadion in Hamburg on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Victor Moses reportedly picked up an injury in Monday night's win against Manchester United.

The 26-year-old wing-back was replaced by Kurt Zouma after 89 minutes of the FA Cup quarter-final clash.

According to All Nigeria Soccer, Moses is suspected to have suffered a calf strain.

And Chelsea's medical team are assessing the extent of his injury.

The winger star could miss up to three weeks which would rule him out of the friendlies against Senegal and Burkina Faso.