Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o and 3 other top African footballers who had humble beginnings


Most of the world-class footballers have humble beginnings but with determination, they broke the chains of poverty and they are now rich.

These footballers came from poor homes but now they are seen as role models. TUKO.co.ke brings you the top 5 footballers who grew up poor: Send ‘NEWS’ to 40227 to receive all the important breaking news as it happens

1. Stephen Appiah 


Former Black Stars player Stephen Appiah was born in Chorkor, a fishing community in Accra. His parents were not rich but he did not despair as he kept his focus. At age 15, he was part of Ghana’s team that won the 1993 U-17 World Cup. After the tournament, he had his breakthrough as he has played for clubs like Juventus, Fenerbahce, Udinese, etc. He is currently the Black Stars Technical Coordinator. He is regarded as one of the richest Ghanaian footballers in history.

2. Samuel Eto’o


The former Barcelona star is said to be worth about $80m. The Cameroonian star grew up under very difficult conditions, living with this family in a small home located in Douala. He grew up sharing a bed with six of his siblings. His passion for football saw him make balls out of plastic materials he found and played with two of his brothers who are also footballers now. After years of playing for an academy in Cameroon, he moved to France but had to leave for Spain where he joined the youth team of Real Madrid. At the time, he earned about $200 a week, an amount that completely blew his family away. That was the beginning of the fattening of Eto’o’s bank account. Today he is one of the continent’s richest footballers.

3. Christian Atsu

Christian Anu

The Ghanaian midfielder currently plies trade for Newcastle. He moved from an ordinary little boy on the streets of Accra to being one of the country’s respected soccer players. He had to resort to selling sachet water to earn some extra money to support his family. Today he is valued at $12m. He has previously played for clubs like FC Porto, Chelsea, and Bournemouth.

4. Yahya Toure 


Yaya Toure had his very own football boots at the age of 10, having spent years knocking a ball about without shoes in the streets of his native country, Cote d’Ivoire. “Boots were very expensive,” Toure told The Guardian in 2011. “And when there are seven in your family and you say you want to buy a pair your father wants to kill you.” But in the Manchester City midfielder’s own words: “I just had a normal African childhood. Life was a struggle when I was growing up.” Toure clearly took his opportunities as they came. He used his distinguished youth career at ASEC Mimosas as a springboard to Europe with Belgian outfit Beveren – from where he has gone on to ply his trade in Ukraine, Greece, France, Spain, and England. He has among his numerous awards the BBC African Footballer of the Year.

5. Steven Pienaar 

Steven Pienar

Growing up in apartheid-era South Africa was a dangerous proposition for Steven Pienaar, who has described native Westbury – on the fringes of Johannesburg – as a cauldron of violence and strife. Pienaar recalled being banned by his mother from sitting on the couch to watch television, as she feared a stray bullet would come flying through the window and harm her son. PAY ATTENTION: Become a member of the leading sports Facebook group ‘TUKO Michezo’ While Pienaar was able to escape the dangers of Westbury via football, many others were not. Soon after joining Ajax, a close friend of his was tragically lost to the mayhem of Westbury, an event Pienaar says is too painful to speak about at length.



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