Hibs' Sol Bamba ends fears over his fitness

SOL BAMBA today reassured Hibs boss John Hughes he'll be ready for the new season after declaring himself fit for the Ivory Coast's World Cup clash with North Korea tomorrow.

The 25-year-old's fitness had been called into question when it was revealed he'd suffered a recurrence of the knee injury which plagued him throughout last season. But the big defender has been given the all-clear following a scan and has spoken to Hughes to inform him it was nothing more than a touch of inflammation.

Today, Bamba told the Evening News from the Ivory Coast's South African base: "I started to feel my knee a few days ago and had been out of training but I feel good now. I'm fit to play tomorrow if the manager needs me."

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Bamba, however, is aware The Elephants require a highly unlikely combination of results following Portugal's 7-0 win over Korea while the Ivory Coast went down 3-1 to Brazil.

As a consequence Sven-Goran Eriksson's side not only need to win and hope Brazil record a third successive victory but to overcome a nine-goal deficit if they are to edge out the Portuguese with whom they drew their opening match.

Bamba missed that game before being forced to miss the clash with the Brazilians through injury, a situation which, he admitted, had left him highly frustrated.

He said: "It's been disappointing so far collectively, not helped by that defeat by Brazil while Portugal scored so many against North Korea."

Hughes admitted he shared his player's frustration saying: "I've been watching the games dying to see Sol get on. Hopefully he will get that chance tomorrow, it's a stage every player in the world wants to play on.

Hopefully it rubs off on him and he brings that back to Hibs."