Demba Ba apologises to Newcastle fans over Afican Nations Cup commitments
Alan Pardew's top scorer, a free signing from West Ham, says he hopes Newcastle fans appreciate his eagerness to represent his country.
Ba said: "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."