Ghana defender Samuel Osei Kuffuor is no stranger at all to expressing emotions in public. In 1999, Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain, Tugar as he is affectionately called, was in tears; his heart heavy and bled with pain from a Uefa Champions league trophy painfully lost.

12 years down the line at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, a Cathedral of football in Kumasi, Ghana, a venue which holds many indelible memories for the Ghanaian football colossus, Sammy Tugar again broke in tears, but this time in jollity, in celebration of a chequered but illustrious professional career spanning 19 years.

And this time, his tears were without the furious fist-punch of the grass turf but rather on the shoulders of his mom; the shoulders of the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II, including those of Ghana’s two ex-presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor who are not exactly the best of friends, but in times like this, always manage to bury their differences for a worthy cause and also on the shoulders of his unsung hero Alhaji Karim Grunsah.

The contrasting significance of the two tear-shedding scenarios encapsulates the momentous career of a determined footballer, a part-time shoe shine boy; a player who has won everything in club football with Bayern Munich; a player whose commitment to the Ghana cause has never been in doubt; a player who had to play in a World Cup qualifier with one arm virtually strapped in POP; a player who under rare circumstances was sacked from the Black Stars team over allegations of indiscipline; a player whose back pass to Kingson gifted Italy their second goal in Ghana’s 2006 World Cup opener. Indeed, hoisting the flag of Ghana for a profession everybody feel so passionate about and yet so few understand, could only be a heavy task and Sammy Tugar was in his unflinching best hoisting that heavy flag.

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