The Cherno Samba Interview: From Championship Manager cult hero to coaching ambitions

Team 33 speak to the former Millwall striker whose playing career did not match his huge potential

Cherno Samba, England,

Cherno Samba with England under-16s in 2001. John Walton/EMPICS Sport

If the Football Manager games proved prophetic, some footballers would go on to become world beaters of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo proportions. 

Alas the virtual universe and real life don't always align and that is what Cherno Samba discovered.

As a 13 year old, the former Millwall forward would score 132 goals in 32 games, causing some of the Premier League's biggest clubs to crane their necks and take notice of his talents at the turn of the 2000s.

Liverpool was one club and their interest even manifested itself in the form of a phonecall from one of Samba's heroes - Michael Owen - while he sitting on the bus to school.

Unfortunately for Samba, the move to Liverpool would fall through and his career would never recover. Indeed, he was still in his mid-teens at that point and didn't have a career to speak of.

In 2015, he would retire at the age of 29 due to an ankle injury but rather than wallow in notions of what might have been, Samba is intent on becoming a coach in order to pass on his knowledge and lessons from his career onto the next generation.

This week, he joined us on Newstalk's Team 33 to talk about how his career was derailed before it had started, why he has no intention of running away from his Championship Manager cult status, his experiences abroad as well as what it was like getting that call from Owen.

You can listen to the full interview below