Being named in the 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ is a dream come true for the athletic Franco-Ivorian defender. He started his career with Paris Saint-Germain, but four years ago, the French-born player was training alone, out of contract and in search of a club.
He had turned professional under Vahid Halilhodzic, making his first Ligue 1 appearance on 27th November 2004, when PSG took on Nice. However, this turned out to be his only taste of top-flight football in France and was followed by a season of anonymity in the Parisian side’s reserves. It took a year to find a new employer, but the move to Scotland was to kick-start his career.
At Dunfermline, he soon earned a regular place in the starting line-up, playing 23 Scottish Premier League matches and experiencing a Cup final at Hampden Park, albeit on the losing side. Dunfermline were relegated the same year, however, and Bamba spent two seasons in the second tier of Scottish football, notching up another 44 professional games. A move to Hibernian followed, and at the age of 25, ‘Sol’ Bamba had found his niche in Scottish football.
One thing led to another, and Halilhodzic, who had since become the Côte d’Ivoire national coach, handed him a call-up for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Over five, games, the big defender spent 283 minutes on the field of play, adding to a career record that already included experience at U-20 level, after appearances in the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2003 and the CAF African Youth Championship two years later.