'I am definitely not put off by it' - Former Leeds United captain Sol Bamba sets sights on improving BAME representation in management

FORMER Leeds United captain Sol Bamba is setting his sights on management with the defender determined to help the representation of BAME coaches in the English game.

By Lee Sobot
Sunday, 2nd August 2020, 4:45 pm

At present, there are only four black, Asian and minority ethnic coaches across English football's top four divisions in Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves), Sabri Lamouchi (Nottingham Forest), Darren Moore (Doncaster Rovers) and Keith Curle (Northampton Town).

Hayden Mullins also finished the 2019-20 season in caretaker charge of Watford whilst Sol Campbell and Dino Maamria have recently left their posts at Southend United and Oldham Athletic respectively.

But former Ivory Coast international Bamba says he is not put off by the lack of BAME managers or head coaches and that a defeatist attitude will not help in improving representation across the game.

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PASSIONATE: Former Whites captain Sol Bamba, pictured in Leeds United's Championship clash at Middlesbrough in September 2015. Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images.

Bamba, who is now captain of Cardiff City, spent a year and a half at Leeds, initially joining on loan from Serie A side Palermo in January 2015 before signing for the Whites permanently and then becoming captain.

The Parisian centre-back was then released in September 2016 but Bamba has since made 111 appearances for Cardiff and hopes that once his playing days are over a career in management will be next.

Speaking to the BBC, 35-year-old Bamba said: "I've been talking to a few other ex-pros who have been saying 'Oh, I won't do it, I won't get an interview', but if that's the mindset you've got then we have got no chance and there will never be any black or BAME community managers.

"And I think that's a problem. I know the pathway has to be better, don't get me wrong, but I do think we need to do more and forget about the mindset of 'Oh I'm not going to get an interview', because it takes time. Everything takes time.

"We have seen a change with the Black Lives Matter movement, but it is going to take time.

"So I am definitely not put off by it. I'm just going to do my thing and hopefully I am going to have a chance one day to do it."

Bamba added: "I actually think if you want to break that (barrier) then we need to do it."

The Professional Footballers' Association, Premier League and English Football League launched a new coach placement scheme in June aimed at increasing the number of BAME players transitioning into full-time coaching roles in the professional game.

The BAME player-to-coach placement scheme, open to BAME PFA members at any age or stage in their careers, will provide up to six coaches per season with a 23-month intensive work placement within EFL clubs.

It is jointly funded by the Premier League and the PFA with bursaries provided to each participant via the placement club.

The first intake will run as a pilot scheme, either in the club’s Academy or first team environment, beginning at the start of next season.

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Thank you Laura Collins