Samuel Osei 'Sammy' Kuffour (born September 3, 1976 in Kumasi, Ghana) is a football defender for Livorno. Arguably the greatest African defender of all-time, Kuffour is known for his great power and tactical awareness as well as a physical presence and nous to unsettle the strongest of attacking players. A Ghana International for 13 years, he won his 1st Cap as a 17-year old when Ghana played Sierra Leone on 28th November, 1993. He has also been part of every Ghanaian national team, at Junior, Youth and Olympic level. He was captain of Ghana at 23 years.
Kuffour burst onto the International scene as a young talented 13-year old defender. At Junior level, Kuffour was a member of the victorious Ghana side that won the 1991 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Italy and the Ghana team that was runner-up to Nigeria in the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Japan. At Youth level, he was part of the Ghana Youth team that was runner-up to Brazil during the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. At Olympic level Kuffour became the youngest Olympic Football Champion of all-time, when he pocketed bronze at the 1992 Olympics with Ghana just before his 16th birthday. He was also a member of the Ghana team that made the quarter final at the same level in 1996.
Kuffour was brought to Europe by Torino F.C. aged just 13 after playing junior football for local teams in his native country. He joined FC Bayern Munich in 1993 from the Italian club as a 17-year-old and after a loan spell with 1. FC Nürnberg in 1996/97 he made his breakthrough at Bayern.
A Fifa World Class defender, Kuffour spent 11 seasons with Bayern Munich, raising from the ranks of youth team to a prominent team member who lifted the Champions League with the club. He was an integral part of the Bayern squad that won the UEFA Champions League 2000-01 and he scored the winning goal in the 2001 Intercontinental Cup and was named man of the match.
Kuffour is perhaps most famous for breaking down in tears after Manchester United's two late goals in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final. Kuffour is also the youngest defender of all-time to score in the UEFA Champions League: 18 years, 61 days during the FC Bayern München 2-2 FC Spartak Moscow, on 2nd November,1994. Kuffour has made over 60 UEFA Champions League appearances; the most by any African Player ever.
After eleven seasons at the Olympiastadion, and 175 Bundesliga appearances, Kuffour left Bayern in the summer of 2005 to return to Italy with AS Roma and signed a 3-year-deal with A.S. Roma in free transfer, summer 2005. But his second year was loaned to UEFA Cup competitor, Serie A team Livorno. He made 21 Serie A appearances in 2005/06 having spent a period of the season away with the Ghanaian national side in the African Cup of Nations and made one appearance for his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, against Italy.
After a costly mistake in the first match of Ghana's FIFA World Cup 2006 2-0 loss to Italy, Kuffour was dropped for the 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, Ghana's second fixture, and for the 2-1 win over the USA.
Major Honors and awards
Intercontinental Cup Winner 2001
UEFA Champions League Winner 2001
UEFA Champions League Finalist medal 1999
German Bundesliga Winner 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2004/05
German Bundesliga Runner-up 1997/98, 2003/04
German Cup Winner 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005
German Cup Finalist medal 1999
Coppa Italia Finalist medal 2006
1991 FIFA U-17 World Championship Winner
Football at the 1992 Summer Olympics Bronze Medal
1993 FIFA World Youth Championship Finalist medal
1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship Finalist medal
1996 African Cup of Nations 4th Place
African Footballer of the Year Runner-up 1999, 2001
Ballon d'Or Nomination 2001
Fifa All-Star defender
BBC African Footballer of the Year - Winner 2001
Ghana Footballer of the Year - Winner 1998,1999,2001
Youngest Olympic Football Champion of all-time 15 Years, Bronze Medal in 1992
Youngest defender of all-time to score in the UEFA Champions League:
18 years, 61 days
Most appearances by an African player in the UEFA Champions League
Ghana Athlete of the Year - Winner 2001
Samuel Kuffour won the U-17 World Championship with Ghana as a 14 year-old in 1991. Kuffour, who has won more than 58 caps for Ghana, was sent home from the 2002 African Cup of Nations over a breach of discipline. He also played in the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2006 African Cup of Nations for Ghana.