With the African Cup of Nations having kicked off at the weekend, NTOF are looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. Last on the list is former Dunfermline and Hibs beast at the back, Sol Bamba.
A youth at Paris Saint-Germain, Bamba joined the French capital club at the age of just 11. Having only appeared for Les Parisiens senior side twice, it was in Scotland where his career really kicked off.
PSG to the Pars
Rather remarkably, it wasn’t Bamba who Dunfermline Athletic and Jim Leishman were initially looking to sign. A great first season for the Ivorian resulted in Dunfermline reaching the 2007 Scottish Cup final.
The Pars lost 1-0 to Celtic at Hampden thanks to an 84th minute Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé winner. The club’s seven year stay in the Scottish top tier also came to an end that season.
Despite Dunfermline’s relegation, Bamba signed a two-year contract extension to put an end to speculation claiming he was looking to play at a higher level.
He headed to Hertfordshire then Hibs
However, the Ivorian then went on trial with English Championship side Watford. As the Hornets pulled out, Hibs pounced and announced the signing of Bamba, meaning an immediate return to the SPL for the centre back.
New Hibs manager Mixu Paatelainen described the Ivorian as “a player with tremendous pace and physical presence” when speaking to BBC Sport. Therefore echoing his previous manager at the Pars, Jim Leishman.
The now Provost of Fife, when talking about Bamba, told the Scotsman: “He’s certainly got the physique and he’s got the potential to do it. But potential sometimes passes you by, it’s all about going out and doing it. He’s a great runner, he’s as strong as an ox, and he’s a strong tackler.”
Bamba the Bluebird
As has been reflected by the amount of Ivory Coast caps and clubs he’s gone on to play for. After leaving Hibs he signed for Leicester City and Leeds United down south, Trabzonspor in Turkey and Palermo in Italy.
He currently plays for Cardiff City, having helped the Bluebirds to the Premier League. Although Neil Warnock’s side were relegated last season, the Ivorian is still an excellent defender at Championship level aged 34.