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Sports News of Tuesday, 28 June 2022


Won World Cup, signed for Madrid but now a kit-man: What went wrong for Ghana’s Baba Sule?

Former Black Starlet midfielder, Baba Sule Former Black Starlet midfielder, Baba Sule

Baba Sule ought to be mentioned among the best midfielders the nation has ever produced, all things being equal.

Sule, 17, is best described as being enthusiastic, aggressive, and disciplined with high awareness.

He was signed by Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid to replace former French international, Claude Makelele, but he was unable to don the fabled white shirt, because of his unfortunate downward career trajectory.

Sule caught the attention of numerous scouts during the 1995 U-17 FIFA World Cup in Ecuador as a potential top-tier defensive midfielder.

He capped his astonishing performance in the tournament with a goal in the final, helping Ghana beat Brazil 3-2 to win the tournament.

The new kid has arrived; a talented midfielder who has the potential to establish himself at the Black Stars.

The '95 squad had former Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah, but back then, Sule was the real deal in midfield.

1995, according to Sule, was a special year for the entire team.

"That year was a memorable year for me. Anytime we talk about 1995, it brings a lot of memories. That year was very great for that group of U-17, we won the cup.]," he said in an interview with TV3 in 2021.

He showcased enormous talent throughout the tournament, which landed him a transfer to Spanish side, Real Mallorca. A deal that was seen as a springboard for his career rather turned out to be the beginning of his misery.

At Mallorca in 1996, Sule played a handful of matches as he battled consistent illness. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis B, which almost led to the termination of his contract.

"While I played for Mallorca, I had problems. I had Hepatitis B, which nearly cost me my contract with Mallorca," he said.

He then pleaded with the club to allow him to treat the illness in Ghana, which they agreed to. Thankfully, he got healed in Ghana and went back to Spain.

During his time at Mallorca, he barely got minutes under his belt. In addition, he played a significant amount of the season on loan.

He eventually left to join lower-tier side Ourense, where he enjoyed football again.

Finally, the 1995 Sule came to life, showing the energy, aggressiveness, and persistence in his games.

As a result, Real Madrid came calling for him to understudy the ageing Claude Makelele.

He penned a deal with the Galacticos in 1999 and was loaned out to Leganes to continue his development.

At age 21, Sule joined Leganes and fared well. He played consistently as he continued his form from Ourense.

Real Madrid had heard of Sule's performance and wanted to include him in their pre-season squad for a tour in Japan. But before a final decision could be made, Madrid's manager, Vincente Del Bosque, had to watch Sule play.

Unfortunately, Sule suffered a ligament injury that required surgery during what appeared to be a test match.

"Real Madrid were preparing to go to Japan for the pre-season. Before that, things were going better for me in Leganes. So, they wanted to take me to Japan, so they sent Vincente Del-Bosque, who was the sports director of the journal side was present to watch my match. That very match was like a test for me and if I'm able to do well So, it was in that very match that I got my injury.

"I was alone. I was controlling the ball and while on a turn I fell. When I fell, I thought it was nothing serious, but when I stood up, trying to move then I realized it was a very serious injury," he added.

After being on the sideline for several months, he returned and suffered the same injury in his first match. He went under the knife again, and that was it for Sule.

He could not reach his full potential as the injury became consistent. He spent the final years of his career in Nigeria before hanging up his boots in 2011.

Sule, after his retirement, fell on the side of the ladder where life after retirement seemed like grinding from zero.

He has worked as an electrician and at other side jobs since he retired to make a living.

Currently, he is the kit-man for Spanish lower-tier side, CF Fuenlabrada.

His first job after retirement was to become the driver for the 17-year-old, David De Gea.

Sule narrated how he became the Manchester United goalie's driver during the shot-stopper's years at Atletico.

“After hanging up my boots, I had the same manager as De Gea, and one day he called me and asked me if I was interested in working with De Gea who was then playing for the second team of Atletico Madrid,” Sule told AFHQ as quoted by

“He asked me if I was interested in being his driver – because De Gea was then 17 –and as he was living near me, and I wasn’t doing anything, I decided to take that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, GhanaWeb is accepting nominations for the prestigious GhanaWeb Excellence Awards – Youth Edition. Watch how you can nominate from the video below.