Middlesbrough defender Sol Bamba says playing his first full league match since being free of cancer was a personal “victory”.
The 36-year-old’s last full league game was in February 2019, and followed last month’s EFL Cup outing at Blackpool.
Bamba, given the all-clear from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in May, made his first league start since January 2020 as Boro lost 2-0 at Coventry on Saturday.
“It’s not my type to talk after a defeat,” Bamba posted on social media.
“But on a personal note, it’s my first 90 minutes for months and after a hard-fought battle against cancer. I’ll take this victory for today and will look for one on the pitch next time.”
While Boro were beaten for the second time in six Championship games, boss Neil Warnock – who worked with Bamba at Cardiff before reuniting on Teesside – was impressed by the contribution of the former Ivory Coast international.
Bamba was initially named on the bench for the game, but the late withdrawal of Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair gave him an unexpected start.
“I thought Sol Bamba did brilliant today if I’m honest,” Warnock told BBC Tees Sport.
“I didn’t pick him on sympathy, I picked him on ability and I thought he was super.”