heinnews’s David Hein this week caught up with Demba Ba, striker with German soccer/football club Hoffenheim. They discussed getting used to the village of Hoffenheim, playing in an up-tempo team, the 2005 riots in France and the Senegal national team.

heinnews: Hello Demba Ba, let’s talk right away about the beginning. When you came to Hoffenheim in 2007, the club had just been promoted to the second division. You were in France, England and Belgium before coming to Germany. Why did you decide for Hoffenheim, and what did you think of the town of Hoffenheim and the club from the start?
Ba: The leaders at Hoffenheim convinced me of their model in our talks. Of course I was a little surprise at the size of the village when I first arrived in Hoffenheim. But that’s not important. The facilities to improve your football career are very professional.

heinnews: Head coach Ralf Rangnick plays a very offensive-orientated football, usually with three strikers. I know basketball players love playing in a run-and-gun system. How much fun is it playing as striker in this system?
Ba: We attack the ball very early, which of course is based on very intensive running. But yeah, the offensive style suits me well as striker.

heinnews: In the first half of the Bundesliga you worked very well up front with Vedad Ibisevic. Vedad of course scored 18 goals in the first 17 games. What was it like playing with him, and what do you think of his first half showing?
Ba: Vedad is a real team player and does whatever he can for the team. His 18 goals in the first half was a great performance. But then he tore his ACL. But I’m sure that he will come back just as strong.

heinnews: Hoffenheim and their magical football excited all of Germany and gave you and the entire club plenty of attention. How was it for you and the team to win over so many fans throughout the country?

Ba: With the success we were often in the spotlight. But as a club we tried to keep things controlled. We gained a lot of popularity in Germany but we also won games, which was really great. And we want to keep making headlines with our attractive and offensive-minded football.

heinnews: Since the winter break though, the team has struggled with just one win and seven points in the last five games. But more importantly, top players like you, Ibisevic. Sejad Sahilovic and Chinedu Obasi have all missed time. Hoffenheim have struggled to score goals. What can the team do about the attack? And is that the sole reason for Hoffenheim’s problems at the moment?
Ba: The injuries have made it hard for us to find our rhythm since we have to switch so often. Things just aren’t working right now. But we hope we can make turn the corner on Saturday in Karlsruhe.

heinnews: Despite all the problems, the team is still near the international spots. At the end of the first half, some Hoffenheim players talked openly to the media that they were a Bundesliga title challenger. Is that still the case now and what are the team’s exact goals for the rest of the season?
Ba: Nobody was talking about the title in Hoffenheim. That was never our goal. We wanted to establish ourselves in the league. And we have done that. We don’t need to set any goal regarding our position in the standings. We just need to win a game again.

heinnews: Okay, let’s move away for the pitch for a bit. You have lived in Germany since the summer of 2007. Have you gotten accustomed to the German lifestyle?
Ba: Yeah, the integration has gone very well and very quick. The region has plenty of things to offer and I feel very comfortable in Hoffenheim. I travel to Paris as often as I can to visit my family.

heinnews: What kind of music do you have on your ipod?

Ba: Mainly R&B and Hip Hop.

heinnews: Do you like going to the movies or are you rather a DVD watcher?
Ba: I’d say more of a DVD watcher.

heinnews: Who is your best friend on the team and why?
Ba: We have a pretty good team altogether. But Vedad Ibisevic has become a really good friend. He really helped me a lot back then getting integrated here.

heinnews: Who on the team would you say has the best and worst taste in clothing?
Ba: Tastes are different so I really don’t want to answer that.

heinnews: Okay, back to football. In 2004-05 you played at English club Watford as an 18-year-old. Until then you had only played in France. How important was this experience for you and what did you learn from it?

Ba: Playing abroad is always an experience, especially when you leave home for the first time. But if you have a goal in sight then you have to take that step.

heinnews: In fall 2005, there were ugly scenes coming from France as riots broke out in Paris suburbs, including your place of birth Sevres. How did you experience this time back then and what did you think of the protests? And hopefully no friends or family were directly affected by them.
Ba: I watched the whole thing very closely on television. Luckily no friends or family were affected.

heinnews: You have also played for the national team of Senegal – the homeland of your parents. Senegal failed to reached the third round of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. In 2002, Senegal reached the quarter-finals and then failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. How bad is it for football in Senegal that the country was once again unable to reach the World Cup – especially since it’s in Africa next summer?
Ba: It’s really disappointing. We finally played a friendly again after there was no more team after we were eliminated. I travelled with the team but could not play due to injury.

heinnews: Okay, last question. Many clubs in England, including Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers as well as Stuttgart have expressed an interest in your services. What do you think of all this interest? Of course you have a contract in Hoffenheim until 2011. But how interesting would it be to play in England again?
Ba: Right now, I just have to play well for Hoffenheim and do my part that we win our next game. That’s the only thing that counts.

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3 Comments

  1. noroit says:

    Hi Demba,
    I’d like to know which club you’d choose if Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal or MU ask for you ? And what if Liverpool propose 10 millions euros, Chelsea 8 M€, Arsenal 5M€ and MU 6 M€ ?
    I really like watching you playing good football.

  2. Dave says:

    @noroit
    sorry man. Demba Ba wont be able to answer your question. But it’s a good one. What do you think? Where would it be best for him to play?

  3. noroit says:

    Hi Dave, If I were him, I’d choose Chelsea, but I’ve read that he’d like to have Wenger as coach.