Demba Ba (footballer)
Demba Ba, a former professional soccer player from Senegal, was born in France on May 25, 1985. From 2007 through 2015, he represented Senegal at the international level. He also competed for his country in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. He declared his retirement from football on September 13, 2021.
Demba Ba was born in Sevres, Hauts-de-Seine, France, as the sixth of seven children. He was a member of the Port Autonme and Frileuse football clubs from 1999 to 2001. He returned to Chatillon, though, to join Montrouge, where he remained until 2004.
After fruitless trials in Lyon and Auxerre later that year, Demba relocated to the United Kingdom in search of a professional contract. He was suggested to Watford manager Ray Lewington by his buddy Gauthier Diafutua, who was a Watford player at the time, but he was released soon after Lewington was fired.
In 2005, he made his first-team debut with the French club Rouen, before transferring to Mouscron and then to Germany’s 1899 Hoffenheim in 2007. He joined West Ham United in the Premier League in 2011. Despite becoming the league’s leading goal scorer in the 2010–11 season, West Ham was relegated to the Championship, and Ba transferred to Newcastle United.
In an interview, he stated, “I am a Muslim who lives and works in a Muslim-majority nation. I am delighted to have fulfilled my religious requirements. People in Turkey have religious freedom. I may go to the mosque whenever I wish to pray. Turkey allows women to wear their headscarves without restriction. They are not required to wear their headscarves if they do not choose to. This isn’t something we see all over the world.”
He joined Chelsea for an unknown price in January 2013, before joining Besiktas for €6 million 18 months later. He joined Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League after a season in Turkey. Demba appeared in 22 games for Senegal, scoring three goals.
The player made his debut appearance for 1899 Hoffenheim on August 29, 2007. After scoring 12 goals, Demba was named top goal scorer, assisting the club’s promotion to the Bundesliga. Demba played in 30 league games as well as three DFB-Pokal games.
Ba is a devout follower of Islam. In 2013, he, along with Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Cheick Tiote, refused to wear the new sponsor’s name on their shirts because Wonga.com is a British payday loan company, and Muslims are prohibited by Sharia law from benefiting from either lending money or receiving money from another person (which includes charging interest).
During the Islamic month of Ramadan, he fasts and celebrates his accomplishments by bending towards Mecca and performs the Sujud. Demba placed his Chelsea shirt up for auction in 2014 to raise money for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. “What occurred in France… I am a Muslim, and what happened is not Islam,” he said following the Charlie Hebdo attack. In honour of the victims and their families, I would have worn a black jersey. I would not, however, have worn the inscription “Je Suis Charlie.”
Demba called on football to criticise China’s persecution of Uighurs in August 2020.