Skip to main content

In pictures: Abdoulaye Ba - from Premer League potential to Segunda stopgap (20th September, 2017)

Today's article is not filled with words. Rather, it is a mini-project I've been working on for a week but have decided to end.

I was trying to assemble photos of Abdoulaye Ba in the news - all of them. Yes, every transfer rumor and done deal that I could find. Why, you ask? I was trying to see what attention a "promising" youngster actually gets.

I attempted to do all, but settled on news mentions to Premier League clubs, a league he has never played in. And even if I missed out a mention here or there, what I found was a fabricated ecosystem that we all consume.

I hope you enjoy watching it from the outside.

The first time Abdoulaye Ba became a "thing" was July 3, 2012, when talkSPORT linked him to West Ham, Stoke City and QPR.


Then ESPN linked him to Aston Villa:


And then the Daily Mail reported that the deal looked dead:


But Mail Online wouldn't give up, saying that Aston Villa wouldn't give up.



But then nothing.

For a year, when the Daily Star was back at it.

And then the Daily Mail was back:


And then two days later Get French Football News linked him to French clubs Nice and Rennes.

The Daily Star tagged along too:


And, of course, nothing happened.

So what actually happened?

Well, three years ago, a center-back taller and surprisingly quicker than most promising players continued a career path taken by most promising players.

Abdoulaye Ba, a Porto player who had had loan spells at S.C. Covilhã in the second division, as well as Académica de Coimbra and Vitória de Guimarães in the first, was on the market. And the center-back chose his fourth loan would be at a team in a country he had never played in, a team that was being coached by a former center-back...

The first game of the season was against La Liga winners and Champions League finalists Atlético Madrid. It was also Abdoulaye Ba's first test, a test that he succeeded. Mario Mandžukić and Raúl Jiménez were largely quiet thanks to the Senegalese defender, who registered four clearances, blocked a shot and even attempted 77 passes.

And yet, the very next game, in a 2-2 draw at Depor, Ba's terrible back pass to Cristian Álvarez was Depor's first goal, and his handball in the penalty area was Depor's second.

It may have been the best metaphor for his career.

Loan spells at Fenerbahçe SK, Alanyaspor and TSV 1860 Munich followed, followed by a "we-really-need--to-get-someone" four-year permanent deal at Rayo this summer - on August 30th.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Non-league Incider: Cray Valley Paper Mills 4-4 Punjab United Gravesend

Last game: 9th August: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers
After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat.
But that period did not last long. Because of course it didn't.

Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London.
When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back, I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburbs. The stations be…

The story of a Dutch duo transferring to relegated Rayo - Dave van den Bergh and Robert Gehring (17th November, 2017)

Transfers are always fun.

While digging around former Rayo players, I found that someone had transferred from Rayo Vallecano to Rayo Majadahonda - the other Rayo.

What I uncovered was a fascinating story - the story of two Dutch friends who came together and left in very different ways...

Robert Gehring started his youth career in AFC, and finished it at Ajax; he made his debut in the first team in the second match for the 1995 UEFA Super Cup against Real Zaragoza - a competition Ajax subsequently won - but largely spent his time in the reserves. In the 1996-97 season, he got seriously injured, which stagnated his development.


In 1997 his friend and teammate Dave van den Bergh made the switch to Spanish side Rayo Vallecano. Dave recommended Gehring to the club, and Gehring was invited to a trail - despite the fact that his ACL injury had ruled him out for a year. In the trial, Gehring made such an impression that he was offered a contract.

Before Van den Bergh and Gehring joined the t…

Fuenlabrada - the mighty challengers: Part 2; aka Juan Quero - the roller-coaster (15th October, 2017)

In just a few months, Fuenlabrada have competed for promotion to the Segunda, signed a center-back from a La Liga side, and will now be playing Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

This is part 2 of a series about Fuenlabrada, the mighty challengers to Real Madrid, who they play in the cup on the 26th of October.

You can read part 1 here.



He was short. Very short. At 5'3", the left winger sometimes played in an over-sized shirt.

The ball never left his feet. His feet were tiny but they had magic. A dizzying array of body feints, close control, direction changes and sheer speed, often resembling a roller-coaster, left opposition defenders outwitted. And yes - sometimes, he frustrated. Sometimes, he was irregular.

But when he turned up, the world was at his feet.

If Juan Quero plays against Real Madrid he'll be playing against the club that let him go. The club that didn't think he had it in him to become a La Liga player.

The club that was wrong. Very, very wrong - he went fr…