September 2011 is a month I will never forget because it represents a month where things were going well on the injury front. The medical team are doing a great job in helping me come back to full fitness and its going well.
At the same time it is a month when one of the people I would have loved to share the comeback good news with passed away so tragically and suddenly.
Alhaji Sly Ibrahim Tetteh – the man who discovered and mentored me from the age of 14 – died suddenly in Ghana. It was such a shock I am still recovering from the sudden loss and the emptiness that tends to follow such incidents.
I had just got to our Cobham training ground on the fateful September day for my usual physio sessions when the news broke. I could not believe that someone as fit and strong like Sly could die suddenly.
I was in so much shock that I could not hold back the tears. I sobbed uncontrollably to the extent that the physios called off the session. The simplest of things like driving were so difficult; I had to be driven home.
I was confused and just couldn’t work out that someone as strong and ‘healthy’ as Sly will suddenly drop and will not be seen or heard anymore. He was fine as far as we knew and was playing football with friends when he suddenly collapsed and died on the pitch.
Sly Tetteh didn’t just discover me but was also my mentor, father, brother and very close friend.
I am not the only one who was discovered by Sly Tetteh – Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari, John Pantsil to name but a few – were all discovered by him. He nurtured us and taught us how to be footballers as well as men.
I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that Sly Tetteh will not be here to witness my latest comeback. Typically he would have sent me a message of ‘welcome back from injury’ and would have phoned after my first game to see how I was doing.
I will miss him dearly and my first game back will definitely be dedicated to him. I am working hard to be back so I can play for Sly and in his memory.
On a positive note I am working hard to be back and I want to thank you all for your best wishes and kind messages. The warm words keep me going and I’m grateful for all your support,
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