Soccer News of Friday, 19 June 2015
For ex-captain of Black Stars, Stephen Appiah, leadership is a band around his wrist on the pitch to remind him of service not of power or pride so common to many so privileged.
The Black Stars icon has revealed how all his life he wanted to play football not captain teams. But as the sun may not know it’s hot except those who gaze at it, Stephen Appiah had not noticed he was a natural leader so blessed.
“I didn’t know that [I was a natural leader] until they made me a captain…. I remember when they appointed me the captain I even told the coach that Olele [Richard Kingston] is a senior player so they should give him the band but they still insisted and gave me the band”, he revealed on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.
“When it comes to leadership I always say they don’t sell it in the supermarket,” the ex-captain stated.
The former Juventus player after 67 appearances in a national team jersey will have a fitting testimonial to his leadership of the Black Stars.
“After playing for so many years, in January I decided to hang my boots. This country has been behind me solidly…so I have to play a farewell game.”
Samuel Eto’o, Adebayor, Del Piero, Jay Jay Okocha, George Boateng, Kanu and a major component of Ghana’s first World Cup team in 2006 will be featuring in the testimonial match.
Stephen Appiah has paid visits to invite two former Heads of State, Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor, Chief Justice Georgina Wood, the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osumanu Nuhu Sharubutu, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu and many high-profile personalities and invited them to the match.
On 27th June 2015 at the Accra Sports Stadium, it is expected to be a national honour for one of the most humble leaders in Ghana.
“When you have the grace upon you that is what happens to you”, Stephen Appiah deflected comments about his success.
Stephen Appiah’s moment of discovering the seed of greatness came at 15 when he mixed up with big boys of one of Ghana’s greatest clubs, Accra Hearts of Oak.
It was a match between a colts team Mighty Victory and Accra Hearts of Oak. “The fans enjoyed my game” he remembered. The Chairman of Accra Hearts of Oak called him and soon arranged a transfer to Accra Hearts of Oak.
The man born in 1980 went on to experience a long spell in Italy where he played Parma, Udinese, Juventus, Cessena and Bologna.
Today’ Ghana’s playing contingent in Italy acknowledge the path paved by Stephen ‘Tornado’ Appiah. Emmanuel Agyeman Badu of Udinese has paid tribute to him.
The box-to-box midfielder has won the Ghana FA Cup in 1996, the One Touch Premier League (1996), Seria A’s Coppa Italia, Super coppa Italiana, Turkish Super Cup.
He was named 2004 Summer Olympic Football All-Star Team , Ghana Footballer of the Year (2005, 2007), Footballer of the Year in Turkey (2007), 2006 African Cup of Nations All-Star Team of the Tournament.
Appiah became the first Black Stars captain to lead Ghana to the FIFA World Cup for senior national teams. His greatest regret is his failure to lift a trophy with the Black Stars.
On the Super Morning Show Friday, it also surfaced that Stephen Appiah has ‘Leroy’ as his middle name.