He won the award ahead of Luis Figo, Raul Gonzalez and David Beckham
Sumaila Abdallah was nominated after saving Charles Taylor’s life
Virtually unknown by many young followers of football, Ghanaian goalkeeper Sumaila Abdallah is the only Ghanaian and second African to have won a FIFA Award.
Sumaila Abdallah was 18-years-old when he was nominated for the 2001 FIFA Fair play award alongside football bigwigs Luis Figo, Raul Gonzalez and David Beckham.
Sumaila Abdallah who plays for Dawu Youngsters Football Club earned the nomination after he saved a player’s life and renowned Ghanaian sports journalist, Ibrahim Sannie Daara wrote to world football’s governing body to consider the Ghanaian goalie for the award.
During a league match in the FA cup semi-final game between Accra Hearts of Oak and Dawu Youngsters in November, Sumaila Abdallah exhibited a selfless act when he saved the life of his opponent during the match.
Abdallah was in post for Dawu Youngsters when Hearts of Oak’s poster boy, Charles Taylor attempted a bicycle-kick in the box. Unfortunately, Taylor fell heavily to the ground and collapsed on the pitch afterwards.
Abdallah who realized the danger his opponent was battling quickly rushed to Taylor’s aid and revived the striker with a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in spite of the health risks at stake to himself before the medics arrived.
Whiles Abdallah was reviving Taylor with a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it took time for medical team took time to get to the end of the pitch where Taylor was lying.
In the end, Abdallah managed to revive Taylor with what has been termed ‘the kiss of life’ before he was attended to by the medical team.
Although, there was no video to capture what happened, Ibrahim Sannie Daara was able to paint a mental picture to the World Football Authorities in his write up and urged them to award him his magnanimity.
Abdallah subsequently travelled with Ghana legend Abedi Pele and George Weah, the first African to win the FIFA Player of the Year award for the event which was held on 21 December 2001.
His award was later handed to him by the maestro, Abedi Pele.
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