When Neil Warnock took over as Cardiff City boss in October 2016, one of the first things he did was hand pick several players he wanted to work with. One of these was Sol Bamba.
I, probably like several Cardiff City followers raised an eyebrow at this player being of interest to Warnock. Having watched Bamba play for Leeds at Cardiff City Stadium, I was not very enamoured with the possibility of him joining. We already had Sean Morrison, Bruno Ecuele Manga and Matthew Connoly as cover for the centre-half position and I thought there were other areas where we required strengthening.
There is no doubt of Bamba’s passion as was shown on his debut when he scored the
winner against arch rivals Bristol City in front of the home fans. Although this performance was great, Warnock’s comment that there wasn’t a better player
in the championship didn’t really convince me.
Roll on nearly 12 months and I really do believe that Sol Bamba is now a key factor in Cardiff City’s current success and the fact that they are currently near the top of the Championship.
I recently attended the home games against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds. Both teams at the time were flying high, and Leeds were actually top of the League when they arrived at Cardiff City Stadium. In the game against Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff was very much outplayed in the midfield areas with the movement of the Wednesday midfield unit very impressive. That said Bamba and his defence team did a fantastic job and although we conceded, we stayed in the game and when Bamba popped up right at the death it was a point stolen.
In the Leeds game Bamba showed his versatility. With Gunnarson injured, Bamba was asked to play in a defensive midfield role. He played an outstanding game. I often find that he looks very awkward and gangly moving around the pitch, but just when you think he is beat, he sticks out one of those extraordinarily long legs and manages to get a vital touch. Against Leeds Bamba constantly broke down wave after wave of their attacks and then played a simple ball to turn defence into attack. A skillset you often need in a side, a disciplined defensive midfielder, which nicely brings me on to Joe Ledley…
I was quite baffled by Warnock’s apparent lack of interest in bringing back the Cardiff old boy but after witnessing this master class from Bamba I somewhat understand, as with the players he already has at his disposal and with Bamba able to fill in so well for Gunnarson would it have been money spent for the romance of bringing back one of our own?
So back to the question posed in the title of this piece is Bamba key to Cardiff’s promotion push? I believe he is and he has in the space of a twelve month period changed my mind. Is he the best player in Championship as Warnock suggested a year ago? Probably not but I do believe he is vital for Cardiff City football club.
Feature Picture Credit: http://www.itv.com