Former Captain of the Black Stars Stephen Leroy Appiah chose the Calcio Trade Ball awards as the best platform to share his story about challenges he faced during his first transit from the slum of Chorkor to the long Mediterranean coastline of Italy.
Chorkor a place known to be one of the poorest socio-economic backgrounds in Accra was where Appiah played his coast football and stood out among his peers.
During his hay days as a footballer, the resilient midfield maestro played for Ghanaian club Accra Hearts of Oak at a young age of 15 after he was scouted by talent hunters during a tournament.
According to the under 17 World Cup hero, Chorkor Kenkey sellers came to his rescue after training because he could not afford meals.
The ‘Tonado’ of Ghanaian football made his first voyage to the land of the Italiano’s where he plied his trade with Udinese, Parma, Juventus, Torino and other clubs before exploring other countries.
Addressing the august gathering of past and present football stars at the Casio Trade Ball awards where the Legendary Award was bestowed on Stephen Appiah, the 2007 Turkey Footballer of the year used the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane to touch on his first trip to Udinese.
“I didn’t know the Chorkor-boy will be standing here one day and be winning awards, he began; in 1997, when I was playing Hearts of Oak, I had to travel to Italy and the Chorkor-boy didn’t know anything about the food, the weather and the language, nothing because I haven’t travelled before.”
“I remember when I was going it was February 9th and everybody knows it was the coldest weather in Europe. When I was going I was wearing a south pole T-shirt and calcagni jeans.”
“When we got to Milano, I was on transit and I had to move from Malpensa to Trestia and everybody was looking at me whether I was serious going out like that, but they didn’t know I never knew anything about the weather,” Appiah added.
The affable Appiah also acknowledged Abedi Pele and Mohammed Gargo for paving the way and taking care of him during his early days in Italy.
“When I was in Italy the Journalist described me as the ‘Gilato-boy’ because I didn’t know the food and I was always eating bread and ice cream.”
"Mohammed Gargo use to take me out, cook for me at his house, gave me pocket money and bought me cloths.”
Stephen Appiah was the first captain to lead the Ghana Senior National Team the Black Stars to their maiden World Cup in 2006.