Sports News Tue, 7 Apr 2020

I left Juventus because I chose to play for Ghana at the Olympic Games - Stephen Appiah

Former Black Stars captain, Stephen Appiah has disclosed that he left Juventus following his decision to play for the national team ahead of his club at the Olympic Games.

Narrating the story about his departure from Italy for the first time in an interview with KOD monitored by Ghanaweb, ‘Tornado’ Appiah said an invitation from Ghana to play at the 2004 Summer Olympic football games triggered his departure after Juventus directors cautioned him to stay.

“Before the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Ghana sent an invitation to Juventus so the director then came to me and was like we’ve received your invitation but you’re not going, so I said director, I’m going to think about it,” Appiah told KOD.

He added, “The next day after training they called me to the office, the powerful people in football. I was sitting in front of them scared because the least thing and you’re going to lose your contract. They asked me but I still told them I was thinking about it.”

“If I had said I was not going I was going to have problems with Ghanaians. So one day I gathered confidence and told them I want to go, they asked why but I said I’m playing for Juventus, I’m happy and everyone knows me but everything I do my country comes first. So I left and went to Athens,” the former Black Stars skipper narrated.

Appiah went on to play at the Olympics where Ghana exited in the group stages but Appiah was named among the 2004 Summer Olympic Football All-Star Team.

According to Appiah, he lost his position after he returned from the Olympics which later saw his departure to Turkey for 8 million euros.

“When we finished and I came back that’s where I started having problems so I left Juventus because I chose to go to Athens to play for Ghana. That’s when I lost my position at Juventus. I had to find a different team and luckily Fenerbahce came in.”

Asked if he regrets his decision to choose Ghana over the Old Ladies, Appiah said, “No, never, when it comes to football whatever or wherever I am and capable of I will choose Ghana first because today we’re here because we have contributed a lot.

Stephen Appiah was the first African player to play for the Italian Old Ladies and a regular member of the Serie A side winning the Supercoppa Italiana in 2003.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com