Demba Ba will be missing for the African Cup of Nations in January as he heads off to represent Senegal in the African version of the European Championships.
Ba won’t be the only absentee of course as Cheik Tiote will also be away for a few matches at the turn of the year. It’s not ideal but the form of Danny Guthrie in Tiote’s current absence shows that at least we have some cover for the Ivory Coast international. Cover for Ba however is a different matter.
Ba has scored eight league goals in his ten league appearances for Newcastle and has proved to be a shrewd signing after being picked up for nothing in the summer. It’s not just his goals that will be a miss though as his work rate and the trouble that he causes defences will be hard to replicate.
The African Cup of Nations is, being honest, a pain in the backside for any team that has to lose players during the middle of the season. But it’s important to remember that the players involved have a right to go and represent their country irrespective of the wishes of the club. This is something that Ba was keen to express when he spoke about representing Senegal in the winter.
“I understand why Newcastle supporters are disappointed that I will be away for a few weeks at the African Cup of Nations, but I hope they also understand why it is so important to me to play in it,” Ba told the Daily Mail.
He continued: “Senegal is my nation and back home in Senegal, it would mean so much to the people if we were to do well in the competition. Playing for your country is still one of the biggest honours in the game, and when it is in a major tournament, it is even more special.”
“I want to go there and try to help my team-mates and my country win the competition.”
Ba then reasoned that the African Cup of Nations is no different to how football fans will feel when the European Championships rolls around next year. Ba said:
“Next summer, everyone over here will be getting excited about England playing in the European Championships and this is the same for us, it is just unfortunate that it happens during the Premier League season and it is a shame I will have to miss some Newcastle games.”
Ba never needed to say any of this as I’m sure most of us will agree that playing for your country in a top international tournament is a priority as a professional footballer. England players take note instead of pissing it all up the wall again!
Yes it’s a shame that Ba is going to miss some club games as he has just started to hit a bit of form for us and has most certainly found his shooting boots. Unfortunately it goes with the territory. If you sign African international players then you have to be prepared to lose them during the season every couple of years.
We just need to try and find someone who can fill his boots whilst he is away!