Celtic striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo was mysteriously taken off on international duty in Friday’s 2-1 win against Niger.
The Hoops star is on international duty with the Ivory Coast under-23 side. Over the last week, they’ve been facing Niger for a spot in the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations, which takes place this summer.
Yet, interestingly, according to a match report by the Confederation of African Football, Bayo was taken off after just 14 minutes last Friday. He was replaced by fellow striker Niangbo Degbole Anderson.
The coverage of the match and tie in general has been extremely low-profile. Therefore, there’s been no explanation for the sub.
The second leg of that under-23 tie takes place tonight. The Ivory Coast are defending a 2-1 lead from the first-leg. It will be interesting to see whether Bayo plays any part after the substitution.
A short-term knock wouldn’t be too disruptive
So long as this isn’t anything too serious, it shouldn’t disrupt him too much.
It’s difficult to see any way in which he forces his way through into the first-team between now and the end of the season. He’s behind the likes of Timothy Weah, Oliver Burke, and Odsonne Edouard for a starting spot. Given the fact Celtic potentially only have another 10 fixtures remaining, Bayo is running out of time to impress this season.
Hopefully we see more of him next year, but it’ll be interesting to see what this substitution was for. He may very well feature in tonight’s clash. But, given the importance of the tie for Ivory Coast, you have to imagine they would’ve wanted Bayo on for longer.
Perhaps it was even a tactical tweak. Bayo, however, is perhaps the most high-profile player in the under-23 squad.
For now it will remain a mystery. All we can hope for is that there’s no serious damage done. The striker will need to make his mark in pre-season, and the best way to do that is to stay injury-free in the run-up to it.