Onana: Bassong and Fifpro support banned Ajax goalkeeper

The Cameroon international has received backing from his compatriot and the players’ representative

Sebastien Bassong and global players’ union Fifpro have expressed their support for banned Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

The Cameroon international was handed a one-year suspension after failing a doping test but the shot-stopper has promised to appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

His Ajax teammates led by Ivory Coast international Sebastien Haller have shown their solidarity to the goalkeeper by wearing shirts which bore the name and number of the 24-year-old during their KNVB Cup quarter-final game against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday. 

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The Fifpro and former Cameroon international Bassong are the latest to align with the goalkeeper during this difficult time. 

“Fifpro strongly believes the one-year sanction imposed on Andre Onana is excessive and disproportionate,” Fifpro said in a statement.

“Fifpro cannot accept a system in which football players have shown to have no intention of cheating continue to be stopped from practising their profession for a prolonged period of time. Such sanctions not only affect their career but also their well-being.

“Fifpro has previously called for a new approach to anti-doping regulations so that employee and employer organisations have more influence on how these rules apply to professional football.

“Furthermore, the notion that the player is not even allowed to train with the rest of the team is utterly incomprehensible.

“The rules need to urgently retract this additional injustice, which has no added value whatsoever and leads to the unnecessary isolation of a young professional football player.”

Bassong believes the ban would hamper the progress of the 24-year-old and calls for support for the goalkeeper to help him overcome the psychological impact of the suspension.

“I feel really sorry for him because he was really on his way in career and a year ban is going slow him down. Even for his own mind it will be tough to recover from that but he is strong enough,” Bassong told BBC Sport. 

“I truly believe he didn’t do it on purpose, he’s not that type of guy. Hopefully, the appeal (to CAS) will go through and they reduce the ban or cancel it. He’s young but really determined, he’s come a long way and he’s worked his way through.

“There’s a lot of things that need to be sorted out mentally, with the support of everyone around him, his club, the Cameroon federation hopefully he will pick it up after the ban. He’ll be 25 (when the ban ends) with a long career ahead of him and hopefully would still get the move that he’s been looking for.”

The ban would also force Onana to miss the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be hosted by Cameroon and Bassong has expressed his concerns.

“Missing the Afcon is what worries me the most, we have all been waiting to host the tournament for years and years, it’s been rescheduled and put back and Andre will be a big miss for us,” he added.

“That’s why everyone is putting in the effort to help him and get this ban overturned because, for our nation, it’s going to be a massive loss. If the decision gets confirmed he’d have to be away from any kind of football at all, he won’t be able to get close to any football premises – that will be the difficult part.

“He’ll feel that people are taking what he cherishes the most away from him. So hopefully he will get the support he needs.”

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