Cherno Samba

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Cherno Samba
Personal information
Full name Cherno Samba[1]
Date of birth (1985-01-10) 10 January 1985 (age 36)[1]
Place of birth Banjul, Gambia
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Forward
Youth career
2000–2002 Millwall
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2004 Millwall 0 (0)
2004–2006 Cádiz 0 (0)
2005–2006Málaga B (loan) 18 (11)
2006–2008 Plymouth Argyle 13 (1)
2007Wrexham (loan) 3 (0)
2008–2009 Haka 7 (0)
2010 Panetolikos 0 (0)
2012 FK Tønsberg 11 (3)
Total 52 (15)
National team
2000–2001 England U16 13 (0)
2002 England U17 1 (0)
2002–2003 England U18 4 (0)
2003 England U19 3 (0)
2005 England U20 1 (0)
2008–2010 Gambia 4 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Cherno Samba (born 10 January 1985) is a former professional footballer who played as a forward.

He represented England at every youth level up to the under-20 team,[2] having moved to England at an early age.[3] He earned full caps for Gambia between 2008 and 2010.

Samba began his career with Millwall before moving to Spain to join Cádiz. He spent time on loan with Malaga B before returning to England to play for Plymouth Argyle. He played on loan for Wrexham and then played Haka in Finland and Panetolikos in Greece before moving to FK Tønsberg in Norway.

Early life[edit]

Samba was born in Banjul, Gambia.[1] His father was a goalkeeper for the Gambian national team and his family moved to Watford, England when he was six, and then to Peckham, South London and was educated at the St Joseph's Academy, Blackheath.

Club career[edit]

Samba came to prominence when as a 13-year-old, he scored 132 goals in 32 games for the St Joseph's Academy, Blackheath football team.[4]

He started his career at Millwall. His prolific form continued, and he was allowed to talk to other clubs by Millwall – both Manchester United and Liverpool showed interest, however Millwall turned down a Liverpool offer of £2 million. In return, Millwall agreed a contract, whereby he was guaranteed three-years of football at senior team level, on him signing full school boy forms.[3]

In the summer of 2004 he joined Spanish club Cádiz CF,[5] and was then loaned out for season 2005–06 to Málaga CF B.[6]

He returned to English football after Ian Holloway signed him for free on 31 August 2006 for Championship club Plymouth Argyle, on a two-year contract.[7] Samba made his Football League debut on 30 September as a 74th-minute substitute for Reuben Reid at the Ricoh Arena against Coventry City, and within eight minutes he scored his first League goal in a 1–0 win for Argyle, heading in a cross from fellow replacement Hasney Aljofree.[8]

On 29 January 2007, he joined League Two club Wrexham on loan for a month, with the option to extend to the end of the season. [9] Samba returned to Plymouth on 26 February.[10]

On 8 August 2008, Samba signed an 18-month contract with Finnish side FC Haka.

In 2009, he returned to England and went on trial with various English clubs including Norwich City and Portsmouth.[11] He signed a two-year contract with Greek Second Division club Panetolikos in February 2010.[12]

On 26 July 2011, he joined English Conference National side Forest Green Rovers on trial for a game against Bristol City.[13] He however failed to earn himself a contract. He then joined another Conference club on trial, Alfreton Town.

In October 2011, he was on trial at Mansfield Town.[14]

On 23 March 2012, Samba joined FK Tønsberg in the Norwegian Second Division.[15]

On 20 July 2015, Samba announced his retirement from football, due to injury.[16]

International career[edit]

Samba represented England at every youth level up to under-20[17] and later decided that he wanted to play for Gambia.

In August 2008, he was called up to the Gambia squad for the 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Liberia and on 6 September 2008, he made his first appearance for Gambia as he played the final minutes of the match.[18] He scored his first goal for the Scorpions in a friendly against Tunisia on 9 January 2010 when he headed in a Sanna Nyassi cross to open the scoring.[19] The goal was made all the more special for Samba as it came on the eve of his 25th birthday. His last international appearance was against Mexico in June 2010. Samba was named in Gambia's squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but chose not to participate.[20]

International goal[edit]

International goals by date, venue, opponent, score, result and competition[21]
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 9 January 2010 Stade El Menzah, Tunis, Tunisia 3  Tunisia 1–0 2–1 Friendly

Personal life[edit]

In 2018 he spoke out about his mental health, disclosing that he had suffered as a young player from depression, and had attempted to take his own life whilst playing in Spain.[22][23]

The Gambia football school, "Cherno Samba Academy of Football", from the Academy was coupled out the professional team Samger FC, is named after him.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

Samba was well known among players of computer game Championship Manager, due to the fact that he became an incredibly good player further down the line in the game, despite his relatively cheap price tag; this turned him into something of a cult hero amongst fans of the game. Although he confessed to never playing Championship Manager, he revealed that his mobile phone provider once cut the delivery time from 2–3 months to next-day delivery on learning that he was serving Samba.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Cherno Samba". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Cherno Samba". The Football Association. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b Panja, Tariq (13 February 2005). "Samba sets up for the last dance". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  4. ^ Cheese, Caroline (4 September 2007). "Man Utd video star faces tough task". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  5. ^ "Samba earns Cadiz deal". Sky Sports. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Samba set for loan". Sky Sports. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  7. ^ "Samba dancing again". BBC Sport. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  8. ^ "Coventry 0-1 Plymouth". BBC Sport. 30 September 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Wrexham strengthen with loan pair". BBC Sport. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  10. ^ "Wrexham line up striker Paterson". BBC Sport. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  11. ^ Fantastic Freddie fires timely reminder to Hart The News (Portsmouth), 30 September 2009
  12. ^ "Cherno Samba signs in Greece" Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Gambia Sports, 2 March 2010; Retrieved 15 March 2011
  13. ^ "Samba set to star for Rovers". Forest Green Rovers FC. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  14. ^ "Chad". Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Cherno Samba joins FK Tønsberg". West Coast Radio. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Cherno Samba: Championship Manager legend on hero status". BBC Sport. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Whatever Happened To: Cherno Samba". 4 September 2007. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
  18. ^ "FIFA Player Statistics: Cherno Samba". FIFA. 6 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  19. ^ "10 Man Gambia beat Tunisia". 10 January 2010. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  20. ^ Camara, Baboucarr (13 November 2014). "Cherno Samba – the Gambian who kept Rooney on the bench". Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Samba, Cherno". National Football Teams. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Former soccer teenage prodigy haunted by series of what ifs".
  23. ^ "Football journeyman to video game star". BBC News.
  24. ^ Football Academy To Boost Gambian Soccer African Football News, 29 October 2003

External links[edit]