Sammy Kuffour: 'A dream come true for me'
FC Bayern have won the Club World Cup(formerly Intercontinental Cup) three times: in 1976, 2001 and 2013. Now, head coach Hansi Flick's team has the next opportunity to be crowned the best club team in the world at the FIFA Club World Cup. Ahead of this Thursday's final against Mexican outfit TigresUANL*Jupp Kapellmann, Sammy Kuffour and Dante reminisce and recount how they made history in their previous triumphs. Illustration: Eric Chow*
Part II: Sammy Kuffour, 2001
"The Intercontinental Cup final in Tokyo against Boca Juniors was a very special day for me long before the match kicked off: my compatriot Dr Kofi Annan, at that time the Secretary-General of the United Nations, had been invited to the match in Japan - and a few hours before kick-off he was suddenly standing in my hotel room. I couldn't believe it. We were both born in Kumasi in Ghana, he went to the same school as me - and he received the Nobel Peace Prize! Unbelievable, what a personality! He said to me: You are playing today not only for yourself and your team, but for the whole of Ghana and the whole of Africa. People are watching you, they are proud of you.' Then I said to myself, 'You just have to give everything you've got for your country today, you have to defend every ball - and you have to score a goal if you can. But of course you never know if it'll work out.
A car as the man of the match bonus
I also still remember Oliver Kahn saying to me before the game: 'Sammy, you know that FC Bayern haven't won this trophy for 25 years? We have to make history today!' I said: 'Okay, I'll see what I can do!' The whole day turned out to be a dream come true for me - first the meeting with Kofi Annan, then the decisive goal. For me, this trophy had a very, very deep meaning. Not many Africans had been given this chance before me, I think only Rabah Madjer from FC Porto had previously won it. As the man of the match, I even got presented with a car after the final whistle. I gave it to my mother. Getting the car from Japan to Ghana was quite expensive - but it was worth it (laughs).
A round of applause
My memories of the goal are very clear: It was a corner from Ciri, Ciriaco Sforza, then Thorsten Fink's header was cleared and Carsten Jancker stuck his body in the way so I had a clear view. I had to score that goal. At the party afterwards, one of the greatest moments in my life happened. When we arrived at the hotel, everyone stood up for me and clapped. I had never experienced that before: all these great players and people at FC Bayern were applauding me, Sammy Kuffour from Ghana. I had shivers down my spine. Kofi Annan took me in his arms and said: 'You give a lot of strength to the people back home. I thank you.' Uli Hoeneß, my papa, also hugged me. He said: 'Sammy, what have you done?' I'm very happy that I was able to gift the fans this trophy.
My heart will always be in Munich
I'm positive FC Bayern will now equal Barcelona's 2009 record at the Club World Cup and also win this sixth title. I watch every game, my heart will always be in Munich, with my club and the fans. The freedom in the way this team plays is just beautiful. We're not talking about individual stars here - but about a mentality that's extraordinary even for a German team. These players always want to win, just like we used to - but they have an even stronger squad than we did. Thomas Müller, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski, Manuel Neuer, even young Alphonso Davies - they have such determination, it's really impressive.
Favourites to win the Champions League in 2021 too.
In my eyes, FC Bayern are also favourites to win the Champions League in 2021. The squads of the other big clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus aren't as strong. And I also see Bayern as being better than Liverpool, the two Manchester clubs or Chelsea - because this team has a mentality like no other in Europe. And the squad is even better than last year, with only Thiago missing. I thought he was exceptional, but FC Bayern can manage without Thiago, no question. These players are machines when it counts. They don't know how to lose. They only know one thing: winning."
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