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Sol could be a contender to take the Cardiff hot-seat.

Byline: GLEN WILLIAMS Football Writer sport@walesonline.co.uk

CARDIFF City fans' favourite Sol Bamba could be in the pool of potential candidates to replace Neil Warnock when he steps down next summer, the Western Mail has learned.

Bamba last week passed his UEFA B coaching licence and is set to sit an 18-day course in May which will gain him the A badge, the grade needed in order to manage professionally.

The big defender has been sidelined since March following a nasty knee injury. But while out of action he has been involved with coaching the Bluebirds Under-23s after Warnock encouraged him to gain some experience.

The Cardiff boss is understood to be a great admirer of Bamba's leadership qualities and has singled him out as one of the current players, alongside Marlon Pack, who could go on to have successful careers in management.

As well as being admired by Warnock and loved by the fans, Bamba is also held in huge esteem within the Cardiff boardroom and is a greatly respected figure throughout the football club.

We have been told that Bamba, who has also worked as a TV pundit, is keen to pursue a career in management when he hangs up his boots.

As yet, no formal discussions have taken place for a succession plan after Warnock departs next summer, the veteran boss having stated this will definitely be his final season in management.

But Bamba has made it clear he would like to be considered for a role of some sort in the dugout and informal talks have taken place to discuss the player's future.

This, of course, hinges on Bamba's playing career and whether he decides to continue next season - or if the player or club would countenance the idea of a player-coach.

The Ivorian turns 35 in January, but there have been no suggestion as yet that he will retire after the season's end.

Bamba has enjoyed helping Andy Legg with the youth team and, as such, has set his sights on turning to coaching in the near future.

He has even taken a more hands-on approach in senior training. The Western Mail has learned that this week he called a halt to a session to read the riot act to some of his teammates after he felt the standard wasn't good enough in a training game.

Bamba lacks managerial experience, of course, but has certainly endeared himself to the Cardiff City supporter base since his arrival from Leeds United in 2016.

Warnock leaves next season and Bamba, it seems, is emerging as the internal candidate on what would be a long list of potential successors for Cardiff 's directors to wade through. The Bluebirds' hierarchy will also, of course, look at other more experienced managers who are bound to be attracted to a job of such magnitude.

Another stumbling block would be if City are promoted to the Premier League, with any manager needing a UEFA Pro licence, the top grade and the one above the A licence, to manage in the top tier of English football.

Cardiff say they will discuss Warnock's future when they feel the time is right and will listen to any recommendations he puts forward for his successor in the hot-seat.

However, Cardiff's hierarchy have also made it clear that ultimately the call will be theirs, not Warnock's.

CAPTION(S):

<B Sol Bamba's already a legend in the eyes of Cardiff fans, so will he take his popularity to a new level by becoming the club's boss?
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Title Annotation:News; Teasers
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 13, 2019
Words:589
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