Can we cope without Demba Ba?

Posted on November 9th, 2011 | 21 Comments |

Demba Ba to be absent from the Newcastle line-up for 3 weeks+
How much will he be missed?
Is the Africa Cup of Nations going to cause serious problems for Newcastle United, particularly in relation to Demba Ba?

The Africa Cup of Nations (ACoN) has its first group game on the 21st January and the final is on 12th February, which means that players will be away from their respective clubs for potentially 3 weeks of tournament time plus preparation/recovery time.

For Newcastle, that means the loss of two of this season’s top performers: Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote. Ba’s Senegal is in Group A along with Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Zambia whilst Tiote’s Ivory Coast is in Group B along with Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola.

Gossip abounds about Pardew’s desire to recruit a new striker, although if Modibo Maiga is that striker then we’re no better off during the ACoN because Mali is also in the tournament.

I would not imagine that the club will be recruiting a striker simply for a 3-week tournament anyway, so presumably Pardew intends to cover for the ACoN with the players he has already got. That could mean a start for Shola (if he’s fit) or for Benny, either of who could play up front with Leon Best.

The worry of course is how we’d cope without the player who has scored half of our 16 league goals this season. Ba had this to say about his absence:

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.

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.

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.

I certainly don’t begrudge him his chance to play for his home nation but I do have concerns about what we’re going to do without him.

Tiote’s work-rate and tenacity is second to none, so he will be missed too, but I think Danny Guthrie has done a decent job as Tiote’s replacement in recent weeks and I think the impact of his loss will be a bit less than Demba’s as a result.

There’s nothing to say that Best, Benny and/or Shola (or even Lovenkrands, Sammy etc) won’t step up and take over the goal scoring responsibilities but I can’t help but be a bit concerned.

What do you think?

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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21 Responses

  1. And on top of that, if we buy Modibo Maiga, who is Malian, we will be without two of our top strikers. I don’t understand why we cannot go for a continental forward. Although, it would kind of be daft to not go for a good striker only because he is going to be away for three weeks out of the total seven months to go play for his home country.

  2. Buy Luuk De Jong so he can half a season hopefully scoring and adapting to the prem league and then when next season’s here he should be firing on all cylinders!

    Hope Bennie Arfa gets some more games time soon!

  3. I wouldn’t be suprised if we brought in both Luuk De Jong and Modibo Maiga, let Lovenkrands and Ranger move on so as to free up the necessary squad places for the 21 and 24 year old respectively. I was still hoping that Kerreison would arrive from Barca but I concede that pipe dream is over. What about this kid from Argentina? Highly rated and top scorer this season so far.

  4. How about if Pardew has a word with Tevez about his time at West Ham and we have him on loan for 6 Months!!

  5. So Ba will be away for a while. We have had strikers like Owen and some others out much longer with injuries. If Ba was injured we would have to have cover. I’m sure we will cope. I’m sure there is a plan in place for us to cope with this. After all the ACoN is every year so its not unexpected.

  6. Yah we can cope without him, just like we coped without Carroll when he left and without Enrique when he left us without a recognised left back… The real hero is AP and without him we would be in trouble, he will make his tactics work around whatever players we have.

  7. That article is quite funny – “players from european lands they hardly knew existed” … what like France and Italy … kin numpties

  8. NY Times – fair enough artical, shows we are now getting a good press world-wide –
    I liked the bit “the roar of the home crowd cascades down onto the field, and it would be a strange player who was not moved by that sound to give 100 percent of what is in his or her soul”
    – unfortunately I could name too many mercenaries in the last few years who were’nt even moved by the cascade of cash into their pockets! (Owen for a start).


  9. oh… I’ve just noticed the bit “strange player …. in his or her soul” !
    Is there something they are not telling us?

  10. How would we cope if Ba was injured from now until january? Simple, someone else is given their chance and hopefully steps up to the plate. Sometimes its a pleasant surprise and can be the making of a young player.
    Of course it could go the other way, but you have to factor in Pardew, the team spirit and work ethic we have at the moment.
    I’m not worried about this, as I think we will have a plan already in place, whether thats a new player, a youngun stepping up or just a change in tactics.
    Either way we are going to find out come ACoN.

  11. lesh says:

    November 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

    “Dunno about missin’ Ba and Tiote, but according to the New York Times (not the North Tyneside New York I hasten to add!) we are and have been based in County Durham!”

    That article also claimed that SJP could get over 200,000 fans every other week if it were big enough Lesh. I think they’ve got us mixed up with S________d and the Stadium of Blight.

  12. I’d really prefer not to sign Maiga. Threw his toys out of the pram when he didn’t get a transfer. Sure he’s back at it now, but what if he signs for us, plays well, and Man-ure or the Scousers come calling? Same thing? Also, I don’t like the idea of our central strike pair both being away at the same time for a tournament. I agree with Ba that it is an honour to play for ones country, but I’d rather see AP spend the money on a continental based striker so it’s not a double-blow every January. IMHO, Shola/Loverpants etc. are just not up to par. Bestie has played well, and hopefully we’ll see HBA shine, but I’d still like some cover up front.

  13. Jonas must be a really homely chic. Ah divvent care, she puts in massive effort week in and week out.

  14. we need another stiker thats for sure with lovenkrnads set to move on in jan and ranger a complete waste of space long term maiga would be ideal.

    his temperament isnt to much different to what HBA done to get his move to nufc so i dont see that as much of a problem

    just want him signed sealed and delivered for the 1st of jan so we can spend the rest of the month worrying about who ashley will sell

  15. worky man its been crazy

    i work free lance so i couldnt turn down the work and with moving to dallas its just been a crazy few weeks!

    hoping to get back into the swing of things now though

    we are up and running with the toonarmydallas facebook/twitter sites so hoping to generate alot of interest for the games

  16. geordiedug says:

    November 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    “worky man its been crazy”

    Aye, thought so. I’ve got the e.mails and I’m just working away at your latest. Great to hear about the group!

  17. Demba is a great player and any team would miss him… We know he would like to go but:

    Is he certain to be picked for squad? Certain to start?
    would a niggling little injury prevent him going?
    Does he need to go to training camp?
    how deep into the tournement might Senegal go?

    Hope he come back fit and sharp – he seems to behave very professional.