Impressive Comments by Demba Ba

Updated: September 13, 2014

Ba’s transfer was an endless story this transfer window that had a happy ending. His spell at Beşiktaş also started like a fairy tale with critical goals against Feyenoord and promising close calls against Arsenal. HTSpor made a traditional foreign player interview with the Senegalese star Ba who blended in the team in no time.

“The Expected African Striker”

It is not clear if that is inscribed in the DNA of Beşiktaş; players, especially strikers, of African descent are always the apple of the community’s eye. This story starts with Les Ferdinand, builds up with Fani Madida and Daniel Amokachi, and climaxes with Pascal Nouma. Nowadays, there is another name carved in the hearts of the fans. Somebody who got the fans, out of sheer impatience, their fortunes told to see if he will join the club during the many months long negotiations. Somebody who was fascinated with İstanbul where he often visited to meet his close friend Moussa Sow during his bright spell in England. Somebody who fell in love with the banner he saw in Beşiktaş stands during the holy week of Prophet Mohammad’s birth, with the striker’s own translation: “Without seeing you, ya rassoullallah, we love you!”. He is Demba Ba. We (HTSpor) knocked the Senegalese star’s door during the international break and asked him about anything that crossed our minds.

“Lying is a disease”

Let’s talk about your much discussed injury. There was quite a lot of speculation over this one. In fact it was even reported that Sow told you to distrust Beşiktaş’s doctor (who was treating Sow as Fenerbahçe’s doctor in the past seasons). What is your situation? Are you really having trust issues?

“Lying is a disease. I hope those people who come up with those lies get cured from this disease. What they say, all this rumors they circulate has no effect on me. I am confident (about my health). The only thing that upsets me is the possibility that our doctor and medical staff, who are putting their heart in for this, getting affected. I hope they are not letting those lies get to them because I will be very upset about this. Moreover, I do not get the point of those speculations. I would like to sit and discuss my status face to face to those people who are telling those stories.

“I will be the face of Arena”

You blended in quickly with Beşiktaş. Would you like to stay here until the end of your career?

“I have a 4-year contract. My relationship with the club is very good. The fans love me. I really want to stay for 4 years. With the new stadium, the club will rise again. I want to be the face of that stadium. This is why I am looking forward to play in Vodafone Arena.”

“I never had a plan B”

You had big problems in your early career. Lyon and Auxerre in France; Watford, Barnsley, Gillingham and Swansea in England refused to sign you. In your own words, you had days where you lived on plain bread and water. What do you think of those days? Did you lose confidence? Did you think about quitting football and doing something else?

“I started playing football in the youth system of a professional club. I participated in the draft days of other clubs on many occasions but got rejected most of the time. Sometimes they delayed, sometimes “they weren’t looking for a player in my position” but I never gave up. They didn’t say things to destroy my confidence, they only told they didn’t have a place in their squad for me. I always had confidence in myself. I never had a plan B. All I wanted was to play football. I don’t know what I would do if I was not a footballer. The same thing goes even for today. I do not know what I would do if I retire. The only thing I know is football. Probably I wouldn’t be able to do anything else.”

“They are all boys of integrity”

How is your communication with the team?

“Sivok is full of life and so is Atiba. We all enjoy being around them. Gökhan Töre is both a great person and a great player. I also quickly became friends with Mustafa, Kerim and İsmail. They are all boys of integrity. Their support and confidence in me lifts me up. I can’t skip without mentioning the youngster Ümit (Ümit Karaal). He is going to be an important player in the future. We have to take good care of him.”

“Tastes incredible”

What are your opinions about Turkish cuisine?

“I like döner a lot. When I was in France, I would go to Turkish places to eat döner but nothing can compare to the döner I eat here. It tastes incredible. I can eat it everyday and not get bored of it. I also love sütlaç (Turkish style rice pudding).”

“I am not afraid of anybody”

Is there a player who impressed or intimidated you in Süper Lig?

“I am not afraid of any player in particular. On the other hand, I am impressed by Semih Kaya from Galatasaray because he has confidence in himself. He is a great defender.”

“Let the kids live”

Like the fans of Beşiktaş, you are also sensitive about social matters. There are wars all around the world and children are dying. What should be done?

“I am doing all I can do to help to Palestine, to Senegal, to Africa. Of course I am not going to brag about the charity I do. These things have to come to an end. War is hell. Kids losing their lives is especially unbearable.”

“Fans are hostile”

You probably have some ideas about Turkish football. For instance, the incident between Volkan and Melo after the Super Cup final was much discussed. Are you surprised at these?

“My observation is that the fans are hostile towards each other more than the players. The players got called up in the national team, get over the incidents and play together there no matter what happened between them. In the end they are all friends. My priority is to impress with quality and skills as a footballer.”

“Atmosphere of İnönü is hard to replicate”

Do you have championship hopes despite the issues with the stadium? How is the Turkish league?

“Not having a home stadium is a huge drawback. Where we play our games is far away from Beşiktaş, the core neighborhood where the heart of the fans are. The atmosphere of İnönü is hard to replicate. We are far away from the fans but we have quality as a team. We will overcome this drawback. We started well. We are hopeful after our first results. Turkish league is still developing. New stadiums are getting built. The progress is promising.”

We (HTSpor) brought a small gift to Demba Ba, who never misses the ritual of 5 times a day prayers. When we gave him the “takke” (special cap to wear during praying) from Mecca, I saw an incredible glow in his eyes. A gift this small made him very happy. He said: “Believe it or not, I had lost my takke and never found the chance to buy a new one. Thank you very much.” via his translator Halil Yazıcıoğlu.