12 Nov Noe Baba: Ireland Star In The Making
FAI Under-16 International Player of the Year for 2012 Noe Baba is the latest Irish talent to make the move across the sea in search of a career in professional football and DB Sports Tours will be monitoring the talented Mayo native’s progress closely.
The sixteen-year-old signed for Premier League club Fulham before Christmas and officially begun his new adventure in January. Despite the setback of a 12-week lay-off from an ankle injury picked up soon after, Noe’s bright future was emphasised even further when a national audience saw him pick up his award on RTE.
A household name in the Connacht schoolboy scene for a number of years already, Baba took the latest step on the road to fulfilling his incredible talent when he opted for the London club.
He is the only player to represent both the Ireland Under-17 and Under-19 international sides in 2012 and became the first African-born player to captain an Ireland side in a competitive game when leading the U-17s out last year.
DB Sports Tours was heavily involved in the deal that saw Baba turn down heavyweight suitors like Manchester United, Arsenal and Celtic in favour of Fulham.
Managing Director of DB Sports Tours David Berber has been an admirer of Baba for a number of years and when he was approached by a top international sports agency about finding Ireland’s next big talent he looked to Castlebar Celtic.
Baba has been impressing for the Mayo league and club since his first Kennedy Cup when he was 12 and was at the forefront of every UK Premier League wish list.
“From the first time I met Noe, I knew he was going to be special, his manner and the way he interacts with people is fantastic” said Berber (pictured left with Baba). “Noe is extremely special – his determination, drive and attitude is second to none. The respect he has for everyone is overwhelming. “He loves playing for Ireland and captaining his country – he plays for both the U17′s and U19′s. “He’s a smart boy doing all honors in his junior cert and will continue the Irish Curriculum leaving certificate.”
“DB Sports have been an integral part of co-ordinating meetings with Fulham’s head of education and Noe’s secondary school.”
A key part of Berber’s enthusiasm for pairing Baba with Fulham was the presence of current England Under-21 coach Steve Wigley at the London club.
Wigley is now Baba’s coach along with fellow former Southampton academy gurus Malcolm Elias, Huw Jennings and Stewart Henderson.
Together, the quartet signed and developed stars like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain, Wayne Bridge and Kenwyne Jones, who were sold for a profit of 55 million pound to the Saints.
Since returning from injury ahead of schedule last month Noe has enhanced his reputation even further by impressing enough with Fulham’s Under-18s to earn some game time alongside senior stars in the club’s reserve side.
That is particularly good news for the Ireland Under-19 side – ahead of their summer action – who will watch with interest on Sunday when Noe and his Fulham under-age side take on Reading in the Barclays U18 Premier League Elite Final.
The future looks bright for the next big thing to next come out of Connacht and DB Sports Tours will be there every step of what promises to be an incredible journey with Noe Baba.