Former Ghanaian goalkeeper Sumaila Abdallah is celebrating the 20th anniversary of winning the FIFA Fair play award, becoming only the second Africa player at that time to win a FIFA accolade.
It’s been two decades since his act of braveness save the life of one of Ghana’s most exciting players in the domestic league.
Sumaila 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 the radio presenter and former Spokesperson of the Ghana Football Association, Ibrahim Sannie Daara, to the security and safety committee of FIFA, earning the player a congratulatory message from 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,” Abadallah 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.”
He became only the second player from Africa to win a FIFA award after Liberia President George Weah.
“I feel very proud to be honored by FIFA. Winning the FIFA Fair Play award is well appreciated. George Weah of Liberia [the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year and three-time African Footballer of the Year] won the FIFA Fair Play honor in 1996. And last year, another African, Lucas Radebe of ‘Bafana Bafana’ of South Africa, was the winner. Winning a Fair Play diploma, at age 19, will motivate me in my football career. And I hope to win more honors for myself and Ghana,” Abdallah said.