Living in poverty, Stephen has worked hard to support his family and receive an education, while trying to achieve his dream of becoming a professional goalkeeper. Without education attached to his football, Stephen couldn’t have made it this far in life.
To highlight the powerful stories around football and education in Africa, 1GOAL helped Stephen to share his story and fulfil his dream of seeing some of his favourite football stars in action, during a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the World Cup in South Africa. Watch Stephen’s story on this video, then read about his trip to South Africa below:
Two weeks ago, thanks to his hard work, discipline in training and studying and thanks his decision to further his education, Stephen signed with a football club in Ghana – the Liberty Professionals. Stephen says “I have been with them for two weeks now and I am very impressed being with them because they are a good team in Ghana.”
It comes after a hard journey through poverty to support himself and nine other members of his family. Stephen had no money to keep paying for his admission fees to senior high school, but his headmaster encouraged him that if he wanted to achieve his dream of being a footballer, he needed to continue his education.
Stephen at 1GOAL event in Johannesburg
“So I went home and sat down and said to myself ‘what Rev. Isaac Brown told me is true: I have to further my education. so the only way out is for me to go to the road side and sell items so that I can raise money for my admission fees. I did that for some months and I was able to raise the money for my admission fee.”
Stephen had to attend school in the morning, football training in the afternoon, and then earn money in the evening in order to be able to afford food for his family and the next day’s school fee. As the eldest of seven children, all living together in a tiny iron shed, it was up to Stephen to provide for his family, while training and studying hard to beat poverty.
1GOAL met Stephen and heard his story when in Ghana with Jessica Alba. To share his story – and highlight the challenges faced by millions of other children like him – 1GOAL brought Stephen to South Africa during the World Cup.
Stephen meets Anthony Baffoe and Quinton Fortune at Soccer City
Stephen told his story to the world’s media here in South Africa, including an interview with CNN, the morning breakfast show on SABC and featured on Ghanaian TV back home. He held a press conference to draw attention to the importance of education as a way to break the cycle of poverty and realise your dreams – in Stephen’s case being the world’s best goalkeeper and playing for Chelsea and the Ghanaian national team, the Black Stars.
Stephen talks to the media at Ghana training session
The highlight of Stephen’s trip was meeting the national stars on the eve of their Quarter Final clash with Uruguay, where he watched them train and was then presented with a ticket to the match at Soccer City by his hero, Ghana captain and goalkeeper Richard Kingson.
Stephen meets 20 year old Ghana reserve goalkeeper, Daniel Agyei
Without education, Stephen would not have been able to further his footballing. But whereas Stephen has been able to work hard and show great discipline in overcoming his life’s challenges, 72 million children around the world do not attend school at all. Stephen realises the importance of education, so has been sharing his story to encourage people to sign up to the 1GOAL campaign.
If you haven’t already, please join Stephen in sending a message to world leaders before they meet in South Africa on the day of the World Cup Final, to discuss the education crisis. Click here to send your education message.