Newcastle United striker Demba Ba hopes fans understand why he wants to participate at next year's African Cup of Nations.
The Senegal international has been in blistering form for the club this term, but will be away on international duty for the tournament that starts on 21st January.
Ba has eight Premier League goals from just ten appearances and his absence during the competition in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon poses a major headache to manager Alan Pardew.
The former West Ham man knows he is letting fans down a little by playing in the African Cup of Nations, however he wants them to know how much the tournament means to him.
"I understand why Newcastle supporters are disappointed that I will be away for a few weeks at the African Cup of Nations, but I hope they also understand why it is so important to me to play in it," he told the Northern Echo.
"Senegal is my nation and back home in Senegal, it would mean so much to the people if we were to do well in the competition.
"Playing for your country is still one of the biggest honours in the game, and when it is in a major tournament, it is even more special. I want to go there and try to help my team-mates and my country win the competition.
"Next summer, everyone over here will be getting excited about England playing in the European Championships. Well this is the same for us. It is exactly the same importance, it is just unfortunate that it happens during the Premier League season. It is a shame I will have to miss some Newcastle games."