Middlesbrough’s Sol Bamba opens up on cancer battle ahead of Chelsea FA Cup tie

Middlesbrough defender Sol Bamba has opened up on his battle with cancer.

The former Cardiff defender joined Middlesbrough in August of 2021, several months after he had beaten cancer.

Since then he has proved a valuable member of Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder’s squad and has caught the eye during Boro’s FA Cup run.

Bamba came off the bench in the 118th minute vs Manchester United, with his only touch a penalty in the shootout. It was his reaction to Middlesbrough’s win, though, that caught the eye that day:

Bamba then came off the bench late in extra time as Middlesbrough saw off Tottenham in the 5th round and is expected to feature at some point vs Chelsea on Saturday evening.

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Sol Bamba reflects on cancer battle

Now, as mentioned above, the Boro stopper has opened up on his battle with cancer: “After the first chemo I was down for four days. I could not get out of bed. I lost weight. After that, I told my missus, ‘I’m not going for the second round’. The way I was, in that moment, it was awful.

“There was disbelief, but I also tried to rationalise it. I was like, “How can I be 35, fit and healthy, and all of a sudden have cancer? Have I done something wrong? Have I eaten the wrong things?”. Straight away the doctor told me it was not my fault, it was simply unfortunate. My first thought then was about my children, and how I would tell them.

“My youngest daughter, she was nine, asked, ‘Are you going to die?’. That hit me. That was the first time I realised, ‘It could happen’. I did not know what to say.

Luckily for Bamba he is now cancer-free and has reflected on the moment he was informed of this:

“It was the doctor. She said, ‘You are cancer-free’. I won’t lie - I did cry. Everyone else in the room was so happy for me. But in that moment, I didn’t think about me. I thought about my mum and dad, my children, my brother and sister. I remember when I told them I had cancer, I promised them I would be OK. So, to be able to tell them I was all-clear, it is a relief, it is massive. Everyone cried.

Bamba also reflected on his Old Trafford penalty in the same interview: “When I was going through chemo, I never thought for one minute I would come back and play. And I never thought about scoring penalties at Old Trafford - nights like that seemed a million miles away.

“Don’t get me wrong, I did not want to miss, but there are worse things in life. I realise that. Everything I’d been through made me calm. All I was thinking was, ‘I’m just gonna stick this away.”

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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