Sebastien Aymar Bassong Nguena is currently playing for Watford on loan from Norwich City. The defender was captain at Carrow Road but fell out of favour towards the end of last season and moved out on loan to Vicarage Road in October. A product of the famed French academy at Clairefontaine, Bassong has also played for Metz, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Wolves. The defender also has 15 caps for Cameroon. In his second appearance in the Footballers’ Football Column, he talks about last season at Norwich, Cameroon’s terrible World Cup and his hopes for the future.
Things can go up and down in football really quickly as I discovered at Norwich. Things change. If someone goes and someone else comes in [Chris Hughton was replaced by Neil Adams in April] with a different mindset your situation changes.
You can see the difference between the way it was and the way it is. But I’ve dealt with it. It’s now in the past and I don’t want to go in to the situation again. It is part of my career.
Bassong gets to grips with Pajtim Kasami of Fulham in an FA Cup tie with Norwich City last season
Bassong shadowing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney during a Premier League match at Old Trafford
Bassong celebrates scoring for Norwich at Everton back in November 2012 with Anthony Pilkington
Of course it was disappointing to see Norwich relegated and I was sad not to play in the games near the end.
As regards the future, I don’t want to think about it. When the time comes, I will talk about it. I am just enjoying playing regularly, I am grateful for the chance and I want to be 1,000 per cent focused for Watford.
It’s been so far, so good at Watford. I’m really happy here, especially after not playing for a while. I’m enjoying competing at the top of the Championship. We are an attacking side and when we are performing we are capable of scoring plenty of goals.
I don’t know what will happen when my loan ends in January. I will talk to Norwich and I will talk to Watford. For the moment, I am just trying to focus and get my rhythm back.
Watford have a really ambitious owner who is trying to do good things. Step-by-step we are getting there. We all want to do well and I feel we are on the right path.
Bassong (left) in action for new club Watford against Nottingham Forest striker Britt Assombalonga
Watford are flying high in the Championship, one of a cluster of teams with promotion ambitions
It’s always difficult when the club is changing managers, as happened at Watford earlier in the season, but as players you have to cope with it and the squad here has coped really well. All you can do is focus – you know what you have to do and that’s win games.
It’s a bit awkward when you have four managers but this happens in football. It can be very short-term for managers these days.
The World Cup left every citizen of Cameroon disappointed about the results and the incidents that happened. It went against the Cameroon culture and you can’t defend what is indefensible. The Cameroonian people could not wait for it all to finish. It was an embarrassment.
If I am to get my place back in the national team, I do need a run of games. That didn’t happen for me before the World Cup and I didn’t get picked. But it is not a big deal. Cameroon and the national team is in my DNA and I am always available to them.
Cameroon’s defence stands motionless as Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic celebrates in their 4-0 World Cup win
Alex Song sees red in Cameroon’s World Cup group match with Croatia in Manaus
Bassong in action for Cameroon against Denmark at the last World Cup in 2010
The Championship is a very competitive division. There are many, many teams who could go up. It is very physical and it is demanding because you are often playing Saturday then Tuesday then Saturday.
The pace and the level is different to the Premier League. I can understand why many players can struggle with the intensity. At Watford, we are trying to find that consistency week-in, week-out, get back to the top and open up a gap.
I did find it physically tough at first as I had to get my body used to playing every week again. With the games so close together, it is important to get enough rest but I like the fact that the busy schedule allows the players to bond.
Slavisa Jokanovic came here with a winning mindset, a mindset that suits the club and that is shared by the players too. We play from the back and like to play good football. He’s not against me going forward either!
Slavisa Jokanovic has enjoyed a fairly successful start to his tenure as Watford manager
Mauricio Pochettino has found the going tough at Bassong’s old club Tottenham this season
Bassong closes out Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling during his Tottenham days
It can only improve at Tottenham – they have a great squad and manager. It is 50-50 when someone new comes in and Mauricio Pochettino had an alright start. But things can very quickly change and not go so well. But they’ll get back up there.
Chelsea look really, really strong in every area from the goalkeeper to the strikers. They have experience, strength, style and quality. They will be confident they can go the entire season unbeaten but the magic of the Premier League is that there is a long way to go and anything can happen yet.
Which defenders do I admire? Raphael Varane at Real Madrid is very, very talented and still so young. I also really like watching Thiago Silva at Paris Saint-Germain.
Bassong is a big admirer of the Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane
Thiago Silva, of Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain, has also impressed Bassong
Bassong’s former Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale has enjoyed an excellent start to life at Real Madrid
Gareth Bale has had an outstanding impact at Real Madrid. Wow. He is a part of Real now despite the pressure of his transfer fee. For me, his first season was amazing. Few leave the country at all but he did and he is learning Spanish and on the pitch he is just flying. He is doing his part, scores great goals and has had a special impact.
There were loads of rumours about the threat of Ebola at the Africa Cup of Nations but it is good that the tournament had now been moved to a safe place for the players and the fans. The likes of Nigeria will always be the favourites but sometimes you can get a surprise – look at Zambia when they won in 2012. I hope that Cameroon can do well, they will go there and try to win it.
After the difficulties of the last six months, I just want to stay healthy and play week-in, week-out. If I can stay injury free, I believe I’ll do well and my team will do well. My future is a little bit cloudy and I may have to go back to Norwich. But it’s not in my hands, let’s wait and see. Stay at Watford? Why not. I am enjoying my football here and why would I want to leave when I’m having fun?
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