How Stephen Appiah risked Juventus career for Ghana

Old Pic Stephen Appiah Former Black Stars skipper Stephen Appiah

Wed, 20 Apr 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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Former Black Stars skipper Stephen Appiah has opened up on how he defied cautions from high-ranking officials at Juventus to play for Ghana at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Appiah said in the #GameChangers issue of the EMY Africa Magazine that the Director of Juventus, Luciano Mogi and two other top officials met him in a bid to dissuade him from playing for the Black Meteors at the Olympic Games.

Appiah said he was bent on playing for Ghana at Greece 2004 knowing very the possible impact on his career.

‘‘I was told the club had received a letter from Ghana. Even before I went in, I knew that it was about the Olympic Games. I went into the Sporting Director’s office only to see three men; Luciano Moggi – Juventus Director of Football, Geraldo, the club’s lawyer, and the legendary Berttegga himself.

“Without even asking whether I wanted to go or not, they explained at length how much they needed me. They suggested I stayed and not represent my country at the Olympics. I asked for time to think about it and decide. They gave me three days’’ Appiah says.

‘I had previously spoken to some teammates who had been to the Olympics and what they described was unmissable. Beyond the immeasurable sense of pride of representing your country at the multi-sports event, it was a festival. The description of the Games village, getting to see other world-class athletes up close and in action was indescribable, they said. This was better than the World Cup. So I had to be there.

“And on a personal note, I had played at the FIFA U-17 World Cup once, twice at the U-20 but never at the Olympics. This was my chance. And as a matter of principle, only injuries or suspensions could stop me from representing my country. That’s non-negotiable’’ Appiah concluded.

Appiah captained a Ghanaian side that included Asamoah Gyan, Charles Taylor, Baffour Gyan and Razak Pimpong.

Ghana exited the tournament after winning, losing and drawing their three group games against Paraguay, Japan and Italy respectively.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com