Where are they now? Mamady Sidibe
19th OctoberWhere Are They Now?
Have you ever wondered what a former Swans player has been up to since hanging up his boots? In what is a new feature on swanseacity.net, we catch up with past players to give you the answers.
This week, former Swans striker Mamady Sidibe takes centre stage. After making 35 appearances for the Swans between 2001 and 2002, scoring eight goals, the Mali-born ex-player now runs his own patisserie and works as both a scout and an ambassador for Stoke City.
Since retiring from playing back in February 2015, ex-Swans striker Mamady Sidibe has been keeping himself more than busy.
The 36-year-old opened a French-style patisserie in Stoke-on-Trent called Melice (www.melice.co.uk) with his wife Bineta back in July 2014, while also works as a scout and an ambassador for another of former clubs, Stoke City, these days.
"I have been working for Stoke since 2015, mainly identifying players in France," says the Mali-born, France-raised former player. "I'm also an ambassador for the club, so I get out in the community and meet people and come along to the stadium on matchdays too. It's great to have that on-going link with the club that I loved playing for."
Sidibe's career as a professional footballer began here at Swansea City in 2001. As a youngster, the Malian turned out for French non-league clubs such as Bagneux, Massy Palaiseau and CA Paris-Charenton as well as Red Star 93, who now ply their trade in Ligue 2.
"Things happened quickly after I came for a trial with Swansea when I was 21," recalls Sidibe. "I came from a non-league environment in France to suddenly playing in front of a crowd of thousands of people.
"It was incredible for me! I made my Swansea debut away at Macclesfield on the opening day of the season (August 11, 2001) and we won 3-1. I scored and made an assist and as a striker, you can't hope for anything more than that on your debut."
Sidibe only played for the Swans for one season, scoring eight goals in 35 matches in all competitions.
While the club finished a lowly 20th in the old Division Three during the 2001-02 campaign, there were a number of highlights for the player, including a 'Man of the Match' display against Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup on November 18, 2001.
"That was my best game in the Swans shirt," he smiles. "The atmosphere that night was very special. QPR were a division higher than us at the time and the fans at the Vetch definitely helped us pull off an upset against them. I made an assist and scored as we won 4-0."
The forward moved to Gillingham in the summer of 2002 and went on to play 115 matches for the Kent club, scoring 13 goals in the process, as they competed in the second tier of league football at the time. But he was on the move once again in 2005, this time signing for Stoke City.
"I think I played the best football of my career at Stoke," says Sidibe, who played 186 matches for the club and scored 26 times before his departure in 2013. "Getting promoted to the Premier League in 2008 was the big highlight of my time there and then playing in the top flight. Every footballer dreams of playing in the Premier League.
"My most memorable match for Stoke was against Aston Villa in our first home match in the division (August 23, 2008). We were winning until Martin Laursen scored with six minutes to remaining to equalise for Villa and make the score 2-2. Then I scored the winning goal in stoppage time and the Britannia Stadium went absolutely mad!"
During the 2012-13 season, Sidibe was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday and then Tranmere Rovers before being released by Stoke City in the summer of 2013.
He managed 15 appearances and scored twice for Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia during the 2013-14 campaign but he called time on his career in the second part of 2015-15 campaign having struggled with injuries.
"It was sad to stop playing, but it was the right time," adds Sidibe. "I'm living back in Stoke-on-Trent and have a wife and a young family, so I'm pretty busy!
"On top of that, I'm running a patisserie at the intu Potteries shopping centre and have my various roles with Stoke City."
Such has been the success of Sidibe's patisserie that he is looking to open a new branch of Melice in the not too distant future. So how about Swansea as a destination for patisserie number two?!
"Swansea would be a great location, but it's a bit too far away from where I live," laughs Sibibe. "It's a shame, as it's a lovely city centre there but I'll probably look for a site somewhere in the Midlands instead!"