Former Ghanaian goalkeeper Sumaila Abdallah on Tuesday called on the outstanding former Ghana Football Association (GFA) spokesperson Ibrahim Sannie Daara who masterminded his global fame 20 years ago.
Abdallah visited the former BBC journalist, who now works with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), at his office in Nima, Accra as the former Dawu Youngsters player marks 20th anniversary of being honoured by world football governing body.
“I have just received a delegation in my Accra office to celebrate the second African to win an award at the FIFA Player of Year Awards event,” a proud Saanie Daara shared.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of Ghanaian goalkeeper Sumaila Abdallah winning the FIFA Fair Play Award.
In 1996, the current President of Liberia, George Weah, who was then a player of AC Milan, became the first African to win an award on that stage when he clinched the Player of the Year award.
Then on 17 December 2001 in Zurich, Abdallah lined up with Portuguese Luis Figo, Spaniard Raul Gonzalez and England star David Beckham to become the second African to climb that stage and the first Ghanaian to do so.
It’s been two decades since his act of braveness saved the life of one of Ghana’s most exciting players in the domestic league.
Abdallah saved an unconscious Charles Taylor from taking his last breath by giving him a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during a game between Hearts of Oak and Dawu Youngsters in Accra, after the forward landed awkwardly following a missed bicycle kick.
His fearless act was echoed by Ibrahim Sannie Daara to the security and safety committee of FIFA, earning the player a congratulatory message from then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
He was later awarded the FIFA Fair play award in 2001.
“A player, [Charles Taylor of the Accra-based Hearts of Oak club] just missed a goal-scoring chance during a crucial league match,” Abdallah said describing the incident.
“I saw him down. I thought his fall was because of the messing up of that scoring opportunity. After about 10 seconds, he was still down. Then I sensed he was in danger, so I rushed to revive him because he was unconscious.”
“Abdallah got the award because, as a young journalist, I wrote to FIFA to ask them to recognize his selfless act that saved the life of his opponent during a league match in Ghana,” Saanie noted.