Following the remarkable story of Ghanaian international defender Samuel Sarfo who went from guarding the Black Stars as a policeman to representing the team as a player, Citi Sports’ Daniel Koranteng takes a look at some footballers who had interesting careers before turning professional.
Samuel Osei Kuffuor
The strong robust central defender became a cult hero for German giants Bayern Munich during his playing days cementing himself s one of the most feared defenders in Europe.
In his 11 years at the club, the Ghana international won 17 domestic titles as well as a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal becoming only the second Ghanaian at the time to achieve the feat.
Osei Kuffuor, however, before taking to the field as a professional player, began making a living by polishing shoes on the streets of Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi.
‘Sammy Tuga’, as he is known, began his footballing career at local club Fantomas Kumasi before going on to make 59 appearances for Ghana’s Black Stars and was part of the Ghana squad that made their debut at the FIFA World Cup in 2006.
Jamie Vardy’s rise to the top has been an extraordinary one.
From earning less than £40 a week from playing Sunday League football to winning the Premier League against all odds with Leicester City.
Vardy held a full-time job as a factory technician making medical splints for people with foot problems, while playing part-time football before turning professional.
The forward spent majority of his career in England’s lower leagues with spells at Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town, before gradually ascending to the top of England’s footballing ladder after his Premier League triumph with Leicester in 2016.
The forward made his debut for England in 2015 and went n to represent the Three lions at the UEFA Euro Championships in 2016.
Julio Ricardo Cruz
The tall lanky Argentine forward spent a large portion of his playing career in Milan for Internazionale making 125 appearances for the club including a spell which saw him win four consecutive Serie A from 2006 to 2010.
Cruz began his career at his hometown Banfield in 1993 but before that the player was actually a gardener working as a groundsman for the team.
Legend has it that during one of the team’s routine training sessions, Cruz who was working nearby was asked by the head coach to deputize for an injured player and the rest they say is history.
The former Manchester City and England defender was a local electrician before deciding tuning to pro football. Nicknamed ‘Psycho’, Pearce spent 5 years training and working as an electrician whilst playing for non league Wealdstone, before he was later signed by Nottingham Forest.
Pearce actually advertised his services in the Forest matchday programme with a picture of him holding pliers and a soldering iron.
Pearce went on to manage Nottingham Forest and Man City after retiring from his playing career.
Pearce was also manager of Great Britain’s football team during the London 2012 Olympic Games, where he famously left out David Beckham from the squad.
He began playing football professionally in 1974 for Botafogo, but spent the majority of his career with Corinthians, scoring 172 goals in 297 matches in total.
The gifted midfielder captained the star studded Brazilian squad in the 1982 World Cup, which included the likes of Zico, Eder and Falcão.
Incredibly Socrates earned his medical degree from School of Medicine, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil before turning pro.
Socrates was famously involved in politics and actively spoke against the military rule in Brazil at the time. He stated Fidel Castro as one of his childhood heroes.
Follow Daniel Koranteng on Twitter @Dani77k