Former Black Stars player and current Deputy General Secretary of the Confederation of African Football, Anthony Baffoe, stepped onto the highly recognized platform of leaders dubbed the Y Leaderboard Series on Y107.9 to share the inspiring story of how he became who he is today.
The hour-long interview with Rev.Erskine was a worthwhile time with listeners of Y107.9 as the legend shared his childhood days, his career path in professional football, family life, his inspiration and motivation for Ghanaian youths.
Growing up in Germany, Anthony recounted that he had to put in more efforts to be twice as good as the rest probably because of his race.
Nonetheless, he enjoyed every bit of his childhood: “I had a beautiful childhood. I call myself very blessed”.
Speaking on how he got to professional football, Anthony revealed that though he loved to play football as a child, he never expected to go into professional football.
According to him, he used to organize street football matches but the first time he ventured onto a football pitch was with his elder brother and sister when he went to try out for a team a classmate’s family member was running.
The defining moment for Tony to join professional football was after the passing of his dad as he believed that was the fastest way for him to earn and take care of his family.
In his journey of professional football, Anthony Baffoe further disclosed how he was motivated by some great people namely his youth coach Reynolds Mitchell and former German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher during the early days of his career.
Tony told Rev. Erskine about his days of playing football at the youth level and about the fact that at age seventeen, he was called up to train with the professionals once or twice a week.
Being selected to train with these professionals specifically experienced players who were coming out of injury, according to him, was already a strong signal that the selectees had talent, however, he mentioned that at that time, he did not play with enough seriousness because he never had it in mind to play football professionally.
“For us the young ones, we were on the spot but for me, I didn’t even have that in mind. I was seventeen and I was in my last year of playing in the youth team and I was just playing until my youth coach told me to focus because Reynolds Mitchells, may his soul Rest In Peace, had his eyes on me”.
He says of the impact his coach had on him, “It made click because back then, only three foreigners could play on a professional team so I was asking lots of questions and my youth coach told me to try and finish the season and then we see what will happen afterwards”.
Tony mentioned of another legend, Toni Schumacher, who also had a positive impact on him.
“Every day, he was shouting at me in training. Sometimes we would play matches five against five or seven against seven which is very fast and he was always on me. I was living right next to him so I took all my courage and then I went to see him. I remember the words of my father, ‘If you have a problem, speak out’ so I asked him why he is always shouting at me and he told me it was because I was not doing enough”.
He said ‘you’re black, don’t forget. You have to be twice as good. We are five foreigners here and only three can play. You’re young and you must do more. You’re not doing enough’.
With this great advice from Toni Schumacher, Anthony Baffoe encouraged the youth to be committed, focused, humble, disciplined, and go the extra mile because even when it seems no one is paying attention, there is always someone watching”.
When it comes to family, Tony shares that he cherishes his family so much that he never takes any decision without consulting his family
Programmes Manager of Y FM who was highly impressed with this edition of Y Leaderboard Series with Anthony Baffoe had this to say: “Anthony Baffoe with his great many feats in Ghana football and all-round success, is, without doubt, one of the best persons to go to when you need words from the right source to keep the young ones motivated. Of course, he cannot go door to door to share his great knowledge and that is why YFM has availed its prestigious platform to spread his words of motivation to the youth all across Ghana through Ghana's biggest weekly youth empowerment program, the Y-leaderboard series”.