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Surprise Retirement: Two west African Footballers Who Departed From the Pitch Unexpectedly

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Football Pitch
Football Pitch. UEFA.com
  • Taribo West is a former Nigerian footballer who left his football career for evangelism
  • Sambegou Bangoura is a Guinean professional footballer who left after a match and never got back to his career
  • Taribo West and Sambegou Bangoura left their football professions unexpectedly

In the football world, most players leave their professions due to age or injuries, however, Taribo West and Sambegou had other reasons for retiring from their successful professions for other activities.

In today’s article, I want us to look at the two players, their early life as shining stars and how they left the football world.

Sambegou Bangoura

Sambegou Bangoura is a Guinean former footballer whose disappearance remains a mystery to many. He played as a striker for various clubs and at the time of his disappearance, he had just finished a tournament for Stoke City.

Sambegou Bangoura

Sambegou Bangoura. Photo/Eurosport

Bangoura started playing in Guinea as a youngster and this was where he was spotted by local club scouts who enrolled him in a youth academy where he progressed through the youth ranks. This period likely saw him refine his ability and gain recognition within the region, catching the attention of international scouts.

His talent didn’t go unnoticed and his impressive performance in a Guinean club earned him a move to Qatari outfit Lekhwiya.

At Lekhwiya, his goal-scoring prowess blossomed, attracting interest from bigger leagues. His success in Qatar paved the way for a move to Ukrainian club Metalurh Donetsk, marking a significant step up in his career.

In 2006, Bangoura’s career reached new heights with a move to Stoke City in the English Premier League, a transfer that represented a major opportunity for him to showcase his talent. Unfortunately, his time at Stoke City was cut short by his disappearance after the 2006 African Nations Cup, leaving him unrealised potential in the English League.

Early and Personal Life Of Sambegou Bangoura

Sambegou Bangoura was born on April 3 1982 in Conakry, Guinea where he was brought up. Just like other young boys of his age, he started playing street football and soon, his talent was realized by local club scouts who took them to one of the academies.

Bangoura’s Retirement From Professional Football

At the time of disappearance from the football world, he was playing for Stoke City, having joined the team that year with high hopes after his success at Qatari club Lekhwiya. He played three games for Stoke City but unfortunately, his time there was cut short by a mysterious disappearance which marked the end of his profession.

Since then, he never returned to Stoke City or played for any other club, adding to the intrigue surrounding his story.

Taribo West

Taribo West is a former Nigeria professional football player who played as a defender and left his profession to be an evangelical minister. Among the things he is remembered for, is his unusual and colourful hairstyle.

Taribo West Playing Career

He won several major trophies with Auxerre in French football and also played for Milanese clubs, Inter Milan and AC Milan and also appeared in the top-level leagues of England and Germany.

Taribo West

Taribo West. Photo/Daily Mail

At the international level, he represented the Nigeria national team and won 42 caps for Nigeria between 1995 and 2005, taking part in two World Cups and two African Championships. He also represented his country at the 1996 Olympics, winning a gold medal.

Why Did Taribo West Retire from Professional Football?

While he has not given a reason for his early retirement, he showed interest in evangelism while still playing and we can rule out that he wanted to follow his passion in a religious career.

Since retiring from football, he became a pastor and founded his church, ‘Shelter of Grace Church of God’ and is also involved in various charitable projects including his Taribo West Foundation which helps underprivileged children in Nigeria.

Apart from injuries and age, some footballers also have several other factors that contribute to their retirement as we have seen in this article.

My passion is capturing the untold journey of global athletes from humble beginnings to superstars in their own right.

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