Throughout the entire history of Bradford City – though, admittedly, more often in recent generations – players from a number of different cultures, countries and backgrounds have played for the club.
This series is dedicated to those players – the ones from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland who have donned the famous claret and amber shirt. This time, it’s a look at the players who were born in, or went on to represent, countries in Africa.
Burundi – Mo Shariff
(#1174, 2 apps, 2014)
Looking to build upon the consolation of their League One place following promotion from League Two in 2013, City signed Burundi-born forward Mo Shariff on a deal to try and impress manager Phil Parkinson.
Shariff had already made his league debut while on loan for Dagenham & Redbridge, before a solitary League Cup appearance for parent club QPR prior to joining City.
In all, Shariff made only two appearances for City; his debut came against Morecambe in the first round of that season’s League Cup from the bench, while he made another sub appearance days later in the 0-0 draw with Walsall on August 16, 2014.
Central African Republic – Kelly Youga
(#1021, 11 games, 2007)
Perhaps the most famous Central African Republic footballer to come to Britain, Kelly Youga joined City on loan from Charlton in February 2007.
He joined at a difficult time, as City were well on the road to ultimate relegation to League Two that season, but he did at least make an impression during his 11 games at the Bantams.
His loan spell was cut short due to injury, and he eventually returned to Charlton.
Ivory Coast – Francois Zoko
(#1181, 21 apps, 1 goal, 2014-15)
Midway through City’s second season back in League One, manager Phil Parkinson turned to Blackpool striker Francois Zoko in a bid to boost the striking options and improve upon what had been a fairly inconsistent campaign to that point.
Zoko became the first – and only – Ivorian to represent Bradford City when he debuted from the bench against Leyton Orient on November 29, 2014. He would stay with City for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, making 21 appearances in all competitions.
16 of those came in the league, with City falling just short of the League One play-off places that year, finishing seventh. Zoko scored once – the winning goal in a 1-0 win against Crawley in March 2015.
Nigeria – Dele Adebola
(#981, 16 apps, 4 goals, 2004)
Lagos-born Dele Adebola appeared for over a dozen professional clubs throughout his career, including an eye-catching spell on loan from Coventry with City in 2004.
He arrived just three games into City’s first season since relegation from the Championship, immediately forming a strike partnership with Dean Windass. He scored three times in the league – against Bristol City, MK Dons and Blackpool. City won all three games.
Adebola also scored in his solitary appearance in non-league competition: the 2-1 defeat to Accrington in the Football League Trophy on September 29, 2004. He returned to Coventry in November.
Nigeria – Chib Chilaka
(#1091, 6 apps, 2010-11)
Nigerian-born Chib Chilaka had an unusual route to Bradford City. After spells with Rushden & Diamonds and Notts County resulted in his release, Chilaka went to university in Hull to study Human Biology.
He spent his time playing non-league for Bridlington and Harrogate Town before his chance came with City at the start of the 2010 season. Chilaka made his debut against Preston on August 24, 2010, going on to make six appearances without scoring in all competitions.
Nigeria – Hope Akpan
One of City’s new additions for the 2018/19 campaign, Hope Akpan was born in England but qualified for Nigeria through his parents.
While at Reading, he declared his intention to try and win a call-up for the Super Eagles: and to date, he has played four times for his country without scoring.
South Africa – Dean Furman
(#1051, 33 apps, 4 goals, 2008-09)
Born in the South African city of Cape Town, Dean Furman played youth football for the likes of Chelsea and Rangers before making a solitary appearance at first-team level for the Gers in 2008.
Then, in August of that year, at the age of 20, Furman was lured to City by former Rangers legend and then-manager Stuart McCall on a six-month loan deal. That deal eventually was extended to the entirety of the 2008-09 season, and Furman formed an effective pairing with Nicky Law for large periods of the campaign. At international level, Furman actually made his South Africa debut while a Bradford City player. He has since played for South Africa over 40 times.
City were so impressed by Furman that they tried to sign him on a permanent deal when he returned to Rangers. However, he opted to sign for Oldham.
Zaire – Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu
(#1028, 21 apps, 6 goals, 2007)
With City relegated to League Two at the start of the 2007/08 season, new manager Stuart McCall initiated an overhaul of an underperforming squad.
His many new recruits including Kinshasa-born Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu, who arrived on a loan deal until the start of the New Year.
His immediate impact? Impressive, scoring the equaliser during the 1-1 draw with Macclesfield Town in the 2007/08 season-opener. All in all, he would score six times for City, including a brace against Hereford United – before his loan deal was not extended into 2008.
Zimbabwe – Adam Chicksen
Much like team-mate Hope Akpan, Adam Chicksen was born in England – but qualified for an African country through parentage.
With a Zimbabwean father, Chicksen earned his first call-up in March 2018 – and subsequently made his international debut for The Warriors in their defeat to Zambia in the 2018 Four Nations Tournament.