Bittersweet birthday for Stephen Appiah as he turns 38

Former Ghana Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah turned 38 today (Monday, December 24) but the joyous occasion has been marred by the passing away of his mother, Madam Comfort Afua Aidoo. She died on Saturday.

Stephen Appiah, ex-Black Stars captain

Appiah cancelled a football gala to mark his birthday and in a glowing tribute to his late mother, he said: “Today is my birthday and I should be celebrating but instead I’m mourning.

"Mourning the very person who gives me so much love and joy. For I always see 24th December as a day to celebrate you instead of me because you made it possible."

Italian Serie A giants Juventus sent him a birthday wish while Turkish side, Fenerbahce, sent their "deepest condolences" over the death of his mom, urging him to "stay strong."

The two contrasting messages from his former clubs sum up Appiah's mood: bittersweet.

Appiah played for the two European clubs before retiring, making 48 appearances for Juventus and scoring 3 goals and 64 appearances for Fenerbahce with 11 goals to his credit.

Stephen Appiah led Ghana to its first World Cup appearance in 2006 as well as Ghana’s best ever World Cup finish in South Africa four years later.