Ghana and Bayern Munich legend Samuel Osei Kuffour has paid tribute to his mum, describing her as the inspiration behind his success.
The 43-year-old is one of the most celebrated African footballers, having won the Champions League with the German giants in 2001, lifted the German Bundesliga title on six occasions and claimed the German FA Cup four times.
He won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award in 2001 and finished second in the Caf African Footballer of the Year race in 1999 and 2001.
“As a young man growing up, the one thing in your mind is that you want to play football. But you never know where [exactly] you are going until you get there,” Kuffour told Goal.
“Because I had dropped out of school, because of the financial situation of my mum, the one thing on my mind was that I just wanted to put a smile on my mum’s face and pursue my dream [when I started playing football].
“But [among the two], the first thing was to put a smile on my mum’s face.”
In a 2017 interview with Passion for Sport, Kuffour revealed he and his single mum had to sell their television to get money to buy football shoes during his early days in Ghana. In addition, he shined people’s shoes to raise money before going to school each day.
Born in Kumasi – Ghana’s second-largest city – the centre-back joined Italian side Torino from local side King Faisal as a 15-year-old in 1991.
Two years, later, he joined Bayern, with whom he was associated until 2005.
With the Bavarians, Kufour also won the German league on six occasions, the German Cup four times and the inter-continental Cup in 2001.
At national level, the former AS Roma, Livorno and Ajax defender is among a coveted few Ghanaian footballers to have represented the nations at the World Cup at all levels – U17, U20, U23 and senior stage.
His Ghana side won the U17 World Cup in 1991 and claimed bronze at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
In 2007, Kuffour was named among the Top 30 Best African Players of All-Time by Caf.