This week’s player has recently been in the news, after signing for a new club. League Two side Wycombe Wanderers made the surprising decision to sign the former Chelsea goalkeeper.
The player in question is Yves Ma-Kalambay.
Your first question might be “Who?”, and you would be right to think that, as this week’s Forgotten Blue never actually made a first-team appearance for Chelsea. However, he was named on the bench a number of times, and was involved in the senior squad.
Ma-Kalambay first joined the club as a youth player, signing from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. He found himself on the bench for a league match agaisnt Bolton Wanderers, following injuries to Carlo Cudicini and Neil Sullivan. He would not make his debut.
A loan spell at Watford followed, but he did not make a league appearance during his temporary spell as Vicarage Road. Used as a back up to Ben Foster, Ma-Kalambay found it hard to dislodge the English goalkeeper.
In October 2006, Ma-Kalambay had the highlight of his Chelsea career, after he was named on the bench for a Champions League game against Barcelona. Injuries to Petr Cech and Cudicini allowed the Congo keeper to act as a deputy to Hilario in the Blues’ goal. Mangus Hedman arrived at Stamford Bridge, and Ma-Kalambay was dropped to fifth choice.
He left the club in the summer of 2007, and signed for Scottish side Hibernian. He spent three seasons in the Scottish capital, and made 57 league appearances for the side. Upon the expiry of his contract in 2010, Ma-Kalambay left the club.
His next move was back to the English leagues, but signed for a Welsh club, as he signed a one-year deal at Championship side Swansea City. He failed to make a league appearance during his time in Wales, but did feature in all of the side’s FA Cup and League Cup fixtures during the season. After a season at the club, he left in 2011.
Ma-Kalambay would spend the next few years in Belgium, the first spell with KV Mechelen. He only made two league appearances, and left the club the following season. His next spell was with Royal Antwerp, but yet failed to secure regular football and only played three times in two seasons.
Before his move to Wycombe, his move recent stint in football was in Romania for Otelul Galati. Like at various other clubs, he failed to nail down regular football.
After a while without a club, it seemed like Ma-Kalambay’s footballing career was over. But a surprise move back to English football in the form of Wycombe Wanderers has given the goalkeeper a chance to prove himself in England once again.