Former Senegal striker Demba Ba has revealed how a visa problem saw him miss out on an opportunity to be part of Ralf Rangnick’s coaching staff at Manchester United.
The German tactician took over on an interim basis following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November 2021 and as he was assembling his backroom team, he offered a role to Ba who was keen on taking it.
However, the former Chelsea, Newcastle United and West Ham United forward could not get a visa in time to link up with Rangnick in what would have been a major step in his young coaching career.
"When Ralf got appointed, he called me, he said to me he wanted me on his staff," said Ba as reported by the Mirror.
"He said; 'You know the Premier League, you know players, you have a background that is close to theirs, you speak English and German and you can be the link between the squad and my staff'.
"For him, he saw it as a perfect match and I’d be able to help him, he thought they’d respect me for who I was and what I’d done in the Premier League. It was a six-month assignment to go in and help but it didn’t happen because the visa didn’t get accepted.
"For me it’s not a regret. Getting experience is always good, it would have been good to get that experience. I’m still working as hard as ever in life, probably even more now."
Rangnick did not, however, enjoy a successful spell at United as he managed just 11 wins in 31 games as the Red Devils recorded their lowest ever Premier League points total (58) to finish sixth and miss out on Champions League qualification.
Rangnick was replaced by Erik ten Hag and having agreed on a further two-year consultancy role, he left the club shortly after last season, taking over the coaching job of the Austria national team.
Ba, meanwhile, enjoyed five seasons in the Premier League, starting with a six-month stint at West Ham who he joined in January 2011 before he left for Newcastle after an impressive seven goals in 13 games.
At Newcastle, Ba played for one-and-a-half seasons, managing 29 goals in 58 games before switching to Chelsea in January 2013.
Ba made 51 appearances for the Blues, who he scored 14 goals for, including the second goal as Chelsea won 2-0 at Anfield in April 2014 after Steven Gerrard slipped to all but end Liverpool’s title hopes.
After spells in Turkey with Besiktas, Istanbul Basaksehir and Goztepe as well as two stints at China’s Shanghai Shenhua, Ba featured briefly for Swiss side Lugano before hanging up his boots in September 2021.
The 37-year-old has since moved into coaching and is the chair of ASC San Diego, an amateur National Independent Soccer Association club, which plays in the US third-tier league.