Osei Sankofa

Osei is a former Premier League footballer and England youth international. His playing style and approach to the game was once described as ‘being an art form even if you’re a defender’ in an article written in the Daily Mail some 10 or so years ago. He made his senior debut for Charlton Athletic against Manchester United at Old Trafford in front of a crowd of over 78,000 people, which was at the time the record appearance ever in a PL match.

Early years

Osei was born and raised in London, to be more precise Brixton where he attended Effra Nursery and Brockwell primary school, whilst spending much of his time playing in the streets of Talma Road which was just a stones throw from the ‘front line’ of Atlantic Road, which witnessed the Brixton uprisings in the mid 80s and the drug infested Coldharbour Lane. He also spent much time with grandparents, regular trips to Brixton market and had a love of playing football in the streets with his friends.

Despite the obvious pitfalls that await in inner city London, Osei’s parents although separated, always instilled in him a sense of hard work and education as being valuable tools for success. Studies and football were areas Osei excelled in as well as his abilities to always be a popular figure as well as a natural leader.

Football

By the time Osei was 13, professional clubs such as Chelsea, Charlton Athletic and Fulham were interested in taking him onto their books and it was Charlton Athletic where Osei ended up at age 14. After just 4 years at the club he made his senior debut in the PL against Manchester United who had David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs in their line up to name but a few as well as playing against sides such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Fulham.

Other notable experiences and achievements include a visit to Inter Milan’s training complex to train with their most talent players. A semi final appearance in the prestigious FA youth cup before eventually losing to Manchester United, who subsequently went on to win the competition. Osei also captained his team to win the annual Milk Cup tournament in Ireland whch is attended by clubs from all over the world. Osei also has International Honours after having represented England from U15 schoolboy age right the way through to U20 where he played against nations such as Brasil, Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany and Nigeria to name a few.

Whilst these exploits were taking place, Osei still had a school career to negotiate. He attended the excellent and very highly thought of Graveney school in Wandsworth and even though he missed a lot of time off school through footballing commitments he was still able to combine the 2 and achieve well above average results eventually leaving secondary with all 10 GCSEs including 2 A*s and 2 As.

Osei studied English Literature - his favourite subject at A level, which he also managed to pass, with the help of tutoring to compliment his football commitments.

Life after football 

Osei initially made the transition from professional football player by first venturing into coaching youngsters the skills and knowledge he had acquired over all those years of developing himself and being a professional player. He has coached at his previous school (Graveney school) working with their 6th form as well as numerous sessions in primary schools namely for the anti racism campaign Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC)

Currently he is the lead coach for Charlton’s U10 academy side who are considered one of the best sides in London and have been described as quick, aggressive and technical all in reflection of the way Osei thinks that they can develop into modern elite players one day.

Beyond the initial coaching Osei did with SRtRC he has gone on to be their lead educator in the south east of England region and has conducted many interviews from radio to national news as well as delivering lectures to newly qualified teachers, delivering teacher training on how to combat racism and facilitating workshops for 1000s of young people up and down the country.

Osei has also delivered workshops for Kick It Out and is a trained tutor by the Professional Footballers Association. He is also in the planning stage of working with KIO and the Premier League to deliver diversity training to all Premier League clubs from the U10s right the way through to the coaches.

Osei is now a highly experienced facilitator and very creative in the way he puts workshops together and he loves the experience of working with young people and challenging views, promoting thought and encouraging discussion.

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