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Newcastle's Ba: Playing for Senegal so important to me

Newcastle United striker Demba Ba understands supporters will be angry with him leaving for international duty in January but he insists it is a must.

The in-form 26-year old is set to represent Senegal at the 2012 African Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and could miss up to six games with the undefeated Magpies.

He wants to make clear that a tournament such as this means a lot to him and has asked for a pardon from the Toon Army.

"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," he told the Northern Echo.

"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. Well this is the same for us. It is exactly the same importance, it is just unfortunate that it happens during the Premier League season.

"It is a shame I will have to miss some Newcastle games."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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