Former Black Stars captain Stephen ‘Tornado’ Appiah has officially announced his retirement from active football at age 34.Appiah started his professional football career with local club Accra Hearts of Oak before moving abroad.The former Juventus star led Ghana to its first World Cup appearance in 2006 and also played a key role at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Ghana finished in the Quarter Finals. Appiah will be mostly remembered for his dedication and commitment on the pitch.Below is the full statement issued by Stephen Appiah.Dear Sir, 14th January, 2015: Stephen Appiah retires from footballAfter two decades and over of what has been an illustrious professional football career I formally announce with deep nostalgia my retirement from football.I wish this day never came because football was life- my life. It made me whole.From the sandy pitches at Indadfa park in Accra where my career was honed to the grassy green field in Turin, Italy where my career blossomed, i tell with profound humility a great true story of a Ghanaian patriot who with nothing, from nothing, rose to become a global icon thanks to the power of football.I retire today with a great measure of fulfillment not just because i bowed out high as captain of the Black Stars but because i bowed out serving my country with honour and selfless dedication in what was, is and will always be the most important sport or activity in Ghana. To this day, one of my proudest achievements in my career is playing and captaining my country. Every time I wore the most inspiring jersey in the world ‘Black Stars shirt’, I realized how fortunate I was not to only follow in a long line of great players that have played for Ghana but also the joy of representing every Ghanaian that cared passionately about their country. I’m honoured to represent Ghana both on and off the pitch.In my service, I made mistakes. I probably stepped on some foots; I definitely annoyed others and broke many Ghanaian hearts for not winning a trophy in my tenure even though we came too close many times.And whilst under my tenure we achieved the single most important dream of qualifying Ghana to the World Cup in Germany 2006, we also shattered many Ghanaian hopes of reaching the semi-final, the first by an African country in our second attempt at the World Cup in South Africa 2010.Africa was down. Ghana was down. And we the players were down too. I remember that episode with a great deal of pain but for a game that holds no certainty one can only grieve in silence and move on. We moved on.My journey to the top echelons of Ghana’s football was not always a bed of roses. It couldn’t have. I remember, as if it were yesterday, the days at the ‘lavender Hill’ when i had to train in the sandy beaches of Korle-gonno, a not too fragrant environment. Those were the days when i had to juggle between going to training and still think about what to eat after training.I remember my days with Accra Hearts of Oak and how my commitment to the game opened a great door of opportunity for me at Starlets 95. I grabbed that opportunity and the rest they say is history.My career has sent me to many places; brought me closer to many people and i have a dozen more to thank and be grateful to for their immense contribution in my life.As I close the chapter on my playing career, I want to thank God for how far He has brought me. Thank my family for the support they gave me, thank all my team-mates both Ghanaians and other nationals, thank the great and intelligent managers that I had the pleasure of learning from and most importantly the numerous fans that cared passionately about me, their teams and their country and also supported me and given me the strength to succeed.Nothing can ever completely replace playing football. However I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead. I am still open to possibilities with whatever football has to offer from now till when my maker decides to call me.
9 May 2012 Hiluta among five new caps in England team to face France Jack Hiluta (Chelmsford, Essex), winner of this year’s Spanish Amateur Championship, and boy internationals Callum Shinkwin (Moor Park, Hertfordshire) and Toby Tree (Worthing, Sussex) are three of five new full caps in the England team to play France at Rochester & Cobham Park in Kent this weekend, May 12th – 13th. The other two newcomers to top level international matches are Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire) and Josh White (Chipstead, Surrey). The rest of the team is Craig Hinton (The Oxfordshire, BB&O), Ben Loughrey (Wrag Barn, Wiltshire), Neil Raymond (Corhampton, Hampshire, IoW & CI), and Ben Stow (Rushmore, Wiltshire). Non travelling reserve is Matthew Wallace (Hertfordshire). Hiluta, 22 (picture © Tom Ward), won the Spanish title in March, beating Germany’s Marcel Schneider 4 and 3 in the 36-hole final at Alcanada. A former England boy captain, his appearances on this side of the Atlantic have been few as he has been at college in Alabama but he did finish joint third in last year’s Berkshire Trophy and was a member of the England squad at this year’s European Nations Championship in Spain. He currently leads the Titleist/FootJoy England Golf Order of Merit. Shinkwin, 18, the 2010 England Boy Champion, has been a boy international for the past two years. He was a semi-finalist in last year’s English Amateur Championship at Woburn and is enjoying a successful 2012 season, winning the Hampshire Hog, finishing third in the Berkhamsted Trophy and fifth in the Darwin Salver. Tree, 17, completes the treble of under 16, boy and full international against France. The England under 14 Champion in 2008, he won the under 16 title two years later and in 2011 won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. He represented GB&I against the Continent of Europe in last year’s Jacques Leglise Trophy and over the winter won the Gauteng North Open in South Africa. He was also a member of the European Nations Championship squad. Chesters, 22, is another former under 16 cap and Midland and Shropshire boy Champion. He won the Lee Westwood Trophy last year and finished runner-up in the Simon Bolivar Cup in Venezuela. He toured Australia with the England squad last winter, gaining two top-ten finishes and was also in the European Nations Championship squad. White, 20, also steps up from boy international and was joint winner of the recent West of England Championship at Royal North Devon. In 2011, he won the Berkshire Trophy and the Surrey Championship and was an England representative in the European Amateur and Finnish Amateur Championships and the Costa Ballena Tournament in Spain. Hinton, 23, made his full England debut in last year’s Home Internationals in Ireland, having enjoyed a string of top ten finishes over the season including fifth in the Brabazon Trophy and sixth in the Portuguese Amateur. He also played in the Open Championship after winning the qualifier at Deal. This year, he represented England in the Jones Cup in America. Loughrey, 23, earned his first full cap against Spain at The Berkshire last year and was also a member of the victorious England team in the Home Internationals in Ireland. Winner of the Lee Westwood Trophy in 2010, he followed that by winning the New South Wales Cup in Australia the following winter, while in 2011 he finished third in the Welsh Open Stroke Play and fifth in the Brabazon Trophy and South of England Stroke Play. He was also a member of the victorious Wiltshire team in the County Championship. Raymond, 26, also earned his first full cap against Spain last year and played in the Home Internationals. His biggest victory came in last year’s Brabazon Trophy at Burnham & Berrow while he finished eighth on the Titleist/FootJoy Order of Merit. Over the winter he visited Australia with the England squad, winning the New South Wales Medal. He was also a member of this year’s European Nations Championship team in Spain. Stow, 20, was another debutant in last year’s Home Internationals and a member of the Wiltshire County Championship winning team. In 2011 he won the Welsh Open Youths Championship and the South West Championship and finished runner-up in the Welsh Open Stroke Play. He was also second in the County Champions Tournament, finishing sixth on the Titleist/FootJoy Order of Merit. The French team will comprise: Mathieu Decottignies, Edouard Espana, Romain Langasque, Nicolas Manifacier, Adrien Saddier, Antoine Schwartz, Kenny Subregis and Lionel Weber. Langasque hit the headlines during this year’s Spanish Amateur when the 17 year old shot a course record 64 during the qualifying rounds at Alcanada. The England v France contests date back to 1934. There have been 31 matches of which England has won 26 and France five. The French won the last meeting 13-11 at Chantilly in 2010. The match consists of four foursomes and eight singles matches on each day. read more
Golf was on offer for the first time when over 220 athletes and support staff gathered for the 27th Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. The flagship sports event enabled newly injured patients from the 13 spinal units from across the UK and Ireland to discover and compete in a range of wheelchair sports. Jamie Blair, Disability Officer for England Golf, said “We are pleased to have added golf to the range of activities on offer as part of the spinal unit games, ensuring the game is open to all. “I would like to express my thanks to the Handigolf Foundation and volunteers for running the activity and showcasing the opportunities to participate in golf”. Stoke Mandeville Hospital patient, 61-year-old Paul Beere from Hemel Hempstead, took part in golf as well as various sports including fencing, hand-cycling, and nine ball pool. Paul says sport has played a part in his rehabilitation after a growth on his spinal cord was removed and he was confined to a wheelchair. He said: “Sport brings you not only exercise, but a sense of purpose and a feeling that everything has an ending”. The games are run by WheelPower, a national sport charity based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. WheelPower’s Sport Development Officer, Stewart Jeeves, who organised the event said: “Throughout the week all participants have fully embraced their opportunity to have a go at sport” “Patients with spinal cord injuries have discovered first-hand what they can achieve in terms of participating in sport and living an independent lifestyle. Many will return home full of confidence and desire to continue playing the sport they love in their local area.’ Image © Roger Bool 15 May 2014 Golf makes debut at Spinal Games read more