Forward | Burkina Faso | Ajax
Boureima Hassane Bandé arrived in Europe after a meteoric rise up the footballing pyramid in his native Burkina Faso, moving to central Belgian outfit KV Mechelen. A raw talent, the 20-year-old forward brightly shone despite his side’s miserable Jupiler Pro League campaign, during which they were relegated.
A versatile forward and someone who can operate across the frontline, the African marksman took to life in Mechelen like a duck to water, scoring on his debut against giants Antwerp, despite the club’s wider struggles.
8 goals and an assist during his first few months earned Bandé a move to Ajax in December 2017 and, while he stayed at Mechelen until the end of the campaign, the purpose of this review will be to look back at his exploits in 2018 alone.
2018 has been
Slower than his first few months on the continent, though that was always expected.
After his move to the Eredivisie was confirmed in December, Bandé’s last few games in Belgium did continue to yield a decent amount of goals. While his production rate did stop after the festive period (he was suspended for the first game of 2018 after picking up two bookable offences against Zulte Waregem), he was largely the club’s most potent attacking outlet.
Starting all 8 of his games and appearing in 717 minutes of domestic action, Bandé was able to record 3 goals and an assist, though ultimately proved unable to prevent De Kakkers from dropping down a division.
Still, asking a then-teenage attacker to completely save a club from relegation during his first season in Europe is, frankly, ridiculous.
Highlights of his goals in 2018 came against some of the biggest clubs in the country. Back in April, he opened the scoring away at Anderlecht, one to add to his tally after previous strikes against Sint-Truiden and Zulte Waregem, proving he was fearless when up against some of the country’s powerhouses.
Another goal in his final game for Mechelen during the season closer at home to Waasl Beveren helped his side end the season on a relative high and Bandé’s set sail for Amsterdam as Erik ten Hag looks to build yet another dynasty in the Dutch capital.
Though he’s yet to feature in an official game for the Eredivisie giants, it’s clear how keen the club are on him. Having reportedly beaten off competition from the likes of Porto, Newcastle United and PSV Eindhoven, the striker certainly looks to be another project amid the glittering array of young talent Ajax currently have at their disposal.
Looking at the project currently in play at Ajax, it’s hard to see a better place for Boureima Hassane Bandé. Having brought through a huge array of young talent of late, Bandé’s can refine his attacking talent in a club steeped in such footballing tradition in both domestic and continental tradition.
Indeed, with a potential African Cup of Nations coming up in just a few months time too, perhaps he can help Bertrand Traore fire Burkina Faso to success too. If he does that, then he may not be in Amsterdam for long.