Hassane Bande, an Ajax attacker, has slammed Manchester United target Erik ten Hag’s man-management and blames the Dutchman for his troubles in Amsterdam.
The 23-year-old joined Ajax from Mechelen in 2018 for a cost of roughly £8 million, with the Eredivisie giants thrilled with his breakthrough season in Europe.
Bande had 11 goals in 25 games in his one and only season in Antwerp, having joined Mechelen from Salitas football club in his native Burkina Faso a year earlier.
Bande’s growth was impeded, however, when he shattered his calf bone and ruptured his ankle ligament during his first pre-season with Ajax, necessitating a year of recovery.
When he recovered to fitness, he found first-team opportunities extremely restricted and was transferred to the Jong Ajax reserve squad by Ten Hag before being loaned out twice – first to Thun in Switzerland and then to Croatian side Istra 1961 in February 2021.
Bande impressed during his second loan spell and is still under contract with Ajax until 2023, though he does not believe he will get much of a chance while Ten Hag is in charge and has criticized the manner the 52-year-old coach treated him upon his comeback from injury.
‘After my catastrophic injury, I hoped to get back to playing as soon as possible,’ Bande told De Gazet van Antwerpen on Tuesday.
‘However, after one half of a practice game, Ten Hag pushed me out of the dressing room and demoted me to the reserves.’
‘I was left to my own devices mentally.’ I attempted to explain my issue but received no response.
‘According to [now-fired director of football] Marc Overmars, I had to accept the manager’s decision.
‘It’s difficult to accept a situation when you’ve never really had a chance.’ Carel Eiting, who, like me, had recently returned from a major injury, was allowed to remain with the first team.’
Bande also discussed why some players in comparable situations to himself were kept in Ten Hag’s senior squad while he was demoted to the reserves.
‘You start to wonder whether there’s something more involved,’ he continued. Racism? I never overtly experienced it, but I did think about it. I just never got an honest answer to why I didn’t get any more opportunities.’