Samuel Kuffour

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Samuel Kuffour
Samuel-Kuffour.jpg
Personal information
Full name Samuel Osei Kuffour
Date of birth (1976-09-03) 3 September 1976 (age 38)
Place of birth Kumasi, Ghana
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1983–1990 Fantomas Kumasi
1990–1991 King Faisal Babes
1991–1993 Torino
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–2005 Bayern Munich 175 (7)
1995–1996 1. FC Nuremberg (loan) 12 (1)
2005–2008 Roma 21 (0)
2006–2007 Livorno (loan) 18 (0)
2008 Ajax (loan) 2 (0)
2009 Asante Kotoko
Total 228 (8)
National team
1993–2006 Ghana 59 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Samuel Osei Kuffour (born 3 September 1976) is a Ghanaian retired professional footballer who played as a defender.

Known for his great physical power, he is best remembered for his time with Bayern Munich, whom he represented for over a decade, winning a total of 17 major titles, and playing in nearly 250 official matches.

Kuffour appeared with the Ghanaian national team in the 2006 World Cup, as well as in four Africa Cup of Nations.

Club career[edit]

Born in Ghana, Kuffour was brought to Europe by Torino F.C. in 1991 aged just 15, after playing junior football for local teams in his native country. He joined FC Bayern Munich in 1993 from the Italian club. After a season-long loan spell with 1. FC Nuremberg in the second division, he made his breakthrough with the Bavarians.

Kuffour spent 11 seasons with Bayern, raising from the youth teams to be a prominent first-squad member who lifted the UEFA Champions League with the club. He was an integral part of the squad that won the 2000–01 Champions League, also scoring the winning goal in the 2001 Intercontinental Cup, being subsequently named man of the match.[1] Also in that year, he finished second in African Footballer of the Year's voting, repeating the feat accomplished in 1999.[2]

Kuffour was also part of the Bayern team which lost to Manchester United due to two late goals in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, famously beating the ground in frustration afterwards, a gesture that endeared him to Bayern supporters. He also became the youngest defender of all-time to score in the Champions League, at the age of 18 years, 61 days during the match against FC Spartak Moscow on 2 November 1994, which ended in a 2–2 draw.[3] Kuffour made over 60 UEFA Champions League appearances, the most by any African player ever,[citation needed] also being one of the most decorated African players of all time.

After eleven seasons in Munich and 175 Bundesliga appearances, Kuffour left Bayern in the summer of 2005, and signed a three-year deal with A.S. Roma in a free transfer, thus returning to Italy.[4] He made 21 appearances in his debut season, having spent a period of the season away on international duty and, in his second year, was loaned to UEFA Cup competitor and fellow Serie A team A.S. Livorno Calcio.

In August 2007, Kuffour had an unsuccessful trial with Premier League side Sunderland, with a view to a permanent move. However, manager Roy Keane confirmed he would not be joining the club, in a post match interview after Sunderland's defeat to Liverpool.[5]

On 28 January 2008, AFC Ajax received Kuffour on a six-month loan contract, with an option for two more seasons. He was released following a lack of form, and was also deemed surplus to requirements by Roma boss Luciano Spalletti, thus becoming a free agent.

In August, it was thought that Kuffour had joined Russian Premier League side FC Khimki. However, it was announced on 10 September, by his agent, that he had retired from professional football with immediate effect.[6] Kuffour rejected the news and stated his desire to continue his career; on 26 January 2009, he was linked to Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire S.C. – the CEO of US-based Sports to Develop Destitute claimed he was helping the player finalise the deal.[7]

In April 2009, Kuffour finally returned to active, and came back to his homeland after a 19-year absence, penning a three-month deal with Asante Kotoko FC.[8] He retired from football only three months after, however.

International career[edit]

A Ghana international for 13 years, Kuffour won his first cap as a 17-year old in a game against Sierra Leone on 28 November 1993. He had previously been part of every national team – junior, youth and Olympic level – and became the full squad's captain at the age of 23.

Kuffour burst onto the international scene at age 13. At junior level, he was a member of the Ghana side that won the 1991 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Italy and the one that was runner-up to Nigeria in the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Japan. At youth level, he appeared with the team that finished second to Brazil during the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia.

Olympicwise, Kuffour became the youngest Olympic Football Champion of all-time, when he collected bronze at the 1992 Olympics just before his 16th birthday. He was also a member of the squad that reached the quarterfinals at the same level in 1996.

Kuffour also made one appearance for his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, against Italy. After a costly mistake in that first match, a 0–2 loss, he was dropped for the next three games as Ghana bowed out in the round-of-16 against Brazil.

On 12 January 2007, the Confederation of African Football voted Kuffour as a member of the Top 30 African Players of All-Time.

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Bayern Munich
Roma

Country[edit]

Individual[edit]

  • African Footballer of the Year Runner-up: 1999, 2001
  • FIFA All-Star Defender
  • Top 30 Best African Players of All-Time: Member[9]
  • BBC's African Footballer of the Year: 2001[10]
  • Ghana Footballer of the Year: 1998, 1999, 2001
  • Youngest Olympic Football Champion of all-time (15 years, 11 months, 4 days)[11]
  • Youngest defender of all-time to score in the UEFA Champions League: Bayern 2–2 Spartak Moscow, on 2 November 1994 (18 years, 61 days)
  • Most appearances by an African player in the UEFA Champions League
  • Ghana Athlete of the Year: 2001

Faith/Life after football[edit]

In 2003 Kuffour revealed to the BBC, in an interview for the 'Heart and Soul' documentary,[12] that he wanted to be a priest or a missionary when he retired from football. In the interview, he also spoke about the surprised reaction of some German players as he prayed before games, while also addressing the support he received from fellow Ghanaian Christians, especially those living in Munich.

In the same interview, Kuffour also talked about the death of his daughter Godiva, in a drowning accident in January that year. He explained that his Christian faith gave him the courage to face the future.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kuffour gives Bayern World Club victory". BBC Sport. 27 November 2001. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Kuffour cries foul". BBC Sport. 18 April 2002. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "UEFA: Competition Facts". UEFA.com. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Roma capture Kuffour". UEFA.com. 8 June 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Buckingham, Mark. "Black Cats snub Kuffour". Sporting Life. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Former Bayern star Kuffour retires from football". ESPN Soccernet. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kuffour set to move to America?". Ghana Soccernet. 26 January 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Sammy Kuffour finally joins Asante Kotoko". Ghana Web. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Top 30 Best African Players of All-Time". CAF Online. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Kuffour receives BBC award". BBC. 15 April 2002. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Matches, players, victories, goals". FIFA.com. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ghanaian footballer Sammy Kuffour tells BBC he wants to be a priest". BBC. 10 April 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 

External links[edit]