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Cardiff afraid to fly after Emiliano Sala disappearance - Sol Bamba

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Emotional tribute to Emiliano Sala at the Emirates (0:42)

Arsenal and Cardiff City unite for an emotional tribute at the Emirates over the tragic Emiliano Sala situation. (0:42)

Cardiff City defender Sol Bamba says some of the team's players were afraid to fly following the disappearance last week of record signing Emiliano Sala.

Ahead of their match on Tuesday, Cardiff and Arsenal players paid tribute to Sala, whose plane went missing on the way from France to Wales on Jan. 22. Afterwards, Bamba spoke about how he and his teammates have been coping.

"It is very difficult to even describe," Bamba said. "It is very unusual, a big tragedy. We have all been affected by it, the lads, the city, the whole club.

"I think we needed something like this, the game, to get underway so we're back as normal, if I can say [that]. But it was a very difficult week.

"We travel ... by plane, and some of the lads have been thinking, 'I don't want to go on it anymore.' It was that deep.

"The gaffer has been good, the club have been good, in terms of bringing someone in to talk to if we need to. And I think we do, a few of the lads do to get it off their chest. So I think it was good thinking from the club and the gaffer, and hopefully in the weeks to come we are going to feel better."

Sala, Cardiff City's £18 million signing from Nantes, went missing when the plane he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel, with rescuers ending their search for the forward and pilot David Ibbotson three days later.

Bamba said following Cardiff's 2-1 defeat on Tuesday night that manager Neil Warnock gave players the option of missing the Arsenal match.

"The gaffer has been good and said, 'If anyone doesn't feel like he should play, just say it.' He wouldn't hold it against anyone.

"But everyone wanted to play for him [Sala] and for the club."

Bamba said the Argentine forward had already formed a bond with Cardiff players and the club.

"I knew him personally because I have a connection to him through my agent," he said. "He came to the club to visit the stadium and training ground and had been talking to the lads to say hello. So he was definitely a part of us and we feel like we are missing him."

Bamba also described how he'd spoken to Sala in the lead-up to him signing.

"He asked me about the club, he asked me about the dressing room, is he going to fit in the team, what the gaffer is like, and the city, and obviously I said only good things. He was looking forward to it."

Before Tuesday's match, yellow cards were placed on all of the seats at the Emirates. There was a floral tribute at the centre of the pitch from players on both teams, while Sala's name was included in the matchday programme with a daffodil, a symbol of Welsh identity, in the column where his number would have been.

"It's not just me [finding it difficult]. I don't feel more sad than the other lads, everyone feels sad, the whole club. The whole community of Cardiff has been very good, the fans never met him but what they did for him was remarkable, we will never forget that."

As for the outcome Tuesday night, Bamba added: "After the week we've had, I think we're pretty happy with the performance, although obviously we're disappointed with the result."