Cardiff manager, Neil Harris has spoken of the “very emotional” scenes at the training ground when Sol Bamba announced he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The Ivory Coast defender has begun chemotherapy and, in comments of cancer survivor Harris, has a “long journey” in front of him but Bamba wants to train in the ground and Cardiff matches as much as possible.
“It’s very sad news and hard-hitting for everybody within the training ground and football club, and within the fan base as well,” Harris announced in an interview released by the Sky Bet Championship team.
“It’s been a difficult week for everybody involved and I spoke to Sol regularly over the Christmas period when he first found out.
“We’ve got to a stage where he’s had time to take it in and find out where he’s at in terms of treatment for the cancer and what his next steps are.
“He’s had time to digest that with the family and speak to them.
“He felt it was only right that he had the chance to come in on Monday and speak to the players and staff in person before releasing the statement.
“As you can imagine it was very emotional for everyone at the training ground, and it was a day that I’ll never forget.
“Sol is an incredible human being. The humility of wanting to put people and their feelings in front of himself is astonishing, and we’ll support Sol and his family in the battle ahead.”
Harris, who was the former Millwall striker and manager, was aged 23 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2001 and experienced radiotherapy treatment and surgery but made a complete recovery to continue his games.
“I can draw on that experience,” Harris informed. “I’ve spoken to Sol over the last few weeks and know where he’s at – it’s a tough period.
“It brings back raw emotions for me obviously, but it’s important we find our own way to help Sol.
“Sol’s a lot older than I was, he’s got more life experience and a beautiful family around him.
“Everybody knows it’s going to be a long journey for Sol, and talk of the future is secondary to where he is at the moment. But I will pass on my life experiences dealing with the illness.”
“Football is a cut-throat business, divisive and opinionated,”
“But when the going gets tough football comes together as an industry and shows its strength and togetherness.
“The messages have been remarkable and everyone will go to Sol because he needs that positivity.”