By John Kwesi Arthur
Football Writer, kick442.com-Ghana
Former Ghanaian international Samuel Osei Kuffour has disclosed one of the regrettable moments in his carrier after loosing African Footballer of the Year Awards in 1999 and 2001.
The former Bayern Munich defender Samuel Osei Kuffour believes that looking at his performances during 1999 and 2001 seasons, he deserved the awards ahead of Kanu of Nigeria and Diouf of Senegal.
After an outstanding performance with Bayern Munich where he won the league and finished second in the UEFA Champions League, Kuffour lost the 1999 award to Arsenal and Nigeria striker Nwankwo Kanu.
Two years later, that was in 2001, after winning the Bundesliga, Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, Sammy Kuffour again lost the award to Senegal and Lens winger El-Hadji Diouf.
In recounting his ordeal to Goal on Saturday, Sammy Kuffour said he thinks he should have won both awards
“I think I should have won the two of them because in 1999, Kanu was injured for [almost] the whole year. He scored a hat-trick [against Chelsea] but how many games did he play? Last time, he and I were debating, we were talking about it.
Kanu and I go a long way, we have been very good friends. We were discussing the issue and it turned into laughter. For me, I think I deserved to win in 1999. Even the guy who came third, Ibrahima Bakayoko [of Mali] told me I deserved to win it.
In 2001, even for the BBC African Player of the Year, El-Hadji Diouf was not even part of it.
It was me, Mohammed Kallon of Sierra Leone and Samuel Eto’o. So why should El-Hadji Diouf win [the CAF award]?
If you become the African Player of the Year, they [CAF] will call you to tell you. You have to choose the venue and date. And I did that: I chose the venue and date. Even today, a lot of people ask about that; they were shocked. How?
You play Africa Cup of Nations in January and you didn’t win the trophy. I won the league, FA Cup, the Champions League, the Inter-continental Cup – I was the [Man of the Match], I was the best defender in the German league, so how? I don’t know. I don’t think about it. We talk about it and we laugh – me and my children.” Sammy Kuffour recounted
Sammy Kuffour felt 2001 was the greatest moment in his career. Apart from the club glories, he picked up a number of individual honours too.
“I think 2001 was the greatest moment of my career because it was a year of gold for me because 1991 we [Ghana U17] won the World Cup and in 2001, I won the champions League.
And then I won the [BBC] African Player of the Year, the Ghana Player of the Year, the Ghana Sportsman of the Year, I won the Intercontinental Cup in Japan [where I won the Man of the Match] and got a car. So for me, 2001 was an incredible year for me.” he said
Despite losing the two CAF awards, Champions league final in 1999 and others, legend Sammy Kuffour says, he had no low moment in his career.
“I don’t have a low moment of my career because in my career, I was consistent. The consistency was very key for me because if you want to be the best, you cannot play for just two years and become the best,
For me to be recognised among the 30 Best African Players of All-Time and being the only defender, I think it was a great achievement for me.” Kuffour added
The 43 year old Ghanaian and Bayern Munich legend had a total of 54 international caps with three goals.
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