Swedish midfielder Ken Sema was far from a popular name among the majority of Football fans.
But after taking a brave step just a couple of days ago, the 29-year-old earned the adoration of the entire Footballing fraternity.
Sema starred for Watford during the Hornet’s 3-2 win over West Brom in the Championship, scoring a brace which included the winning goal in the 78th minute.
While his performance earned plenty of plaudits, his post-match interview with the Watford Media team ended up becoming a trending topic.
The Swede, who’s struggled with a stammer all his life, courageously stepped up to give a presser and he did so with grace.
For the uninitiated, a stammer is a speech impediment which causes great difficulty while speaking, including pauses before uttering words and often repeating sounds.
Having a stammer can cause plenty of damage to an individual’s confidence, while also inducing stress on the brain.
As a result, public speaking or even talking in social situations can be difficult for people afflicted with a stammer, and they often shy away from doing so.
This alone speaks volumes about Sema’s bravery in giving an interview on live television, which is his 2nd language as well.
Thousands of fans on Twitter came together to applaud the midfielder’s courage, many even called him a ‘role model’ and deservingly so.
Of course, Sema isn’t the only Footballer to have overcome his stammer.
The English fullback has been a mainstay in the Leeds first-team ever since joining the club back in 2016.
During this period, Ayling has made 224 appearances for the Peacocks while scoring 8 goals.
The fullback has earned a decent reputation as a Premier League Footballer, yet his struggles with a stammer remain relatively unheard of among most fans.
The 31-year-old confronted his stammer during an interview with BBC, saying –
When I first came to Leeds, I wasn’t comfortable at all doing it (interviews). I’ve kind of got to a point now where like I just don’t care, like if can give an interview and I have a stutter then I’d see a lot of things online where people say that I say ‘then’ and ‘like’ a lot but that’s my safety blanket sort of thing because I know i can get them words out.
He further added on how he has managed to overcome the uncertainty –
I’ve just got to a point where I just thought that I’m doing an interview with somebody who wants to speak to me and who actually wants to hear what I’ve got to say, so why am I scared to do it?
The globetrotting Colombian International became a household name through an incredible World Cup campaign back in 2014.
His exploits in Brazil included stunning goals, silky skills and one of the greatest volleys the Beautiful game has ever seen.
Following the World Cup, James was quickly picked up by Real Madrid, after which he had stints at Bayern Munich and Everton.
While his fall from grace has been pretty shocking, the midfielder was undoubtedly at the top of the world during his heyday.
This makes it all the more surprising that little is known about his struggles with a stammer.
There have been brief mentions of his speech problem in various pieces of Latin American media, including a headline by Chilean daily La Tercera which read ‘James Rodriguez, the Columbian Hero who overcame stuttering’.
The article provided a bit more background regarding his troubles and stated that the stammer affected his youth career, and he even refused to give interviews during the early days of his professional career.
Nevertheless, the midfielder managed to express himself fluently on the Football pitch, and play for some of Europe’s top clubs in the process.
The Bayern Munich center back is currently on a trajectory that could see him become one of Europe’s best defenders, and at the age of 24, he has already cemented his place in the French National team.
Upamecano is known for being aggressive and authoritative on the pitch, unafraid of going all-in on challenges and barking orders at his teammates.
But all this didn’t come so easily for a young Dayot, as he struggled with a stammer during his childhood.
He shed light on his troubles with the speech disorder during an interview with the Independent –
I had some tough moments when I was young because when you go to school and other kids mock you, it hurts.
If the teacher would ask me to go to the board, I would be scared about stammering, because of what the other kids would say about me, I was quite shy in school.
Fortunately, the Frenchman found his voice on the pitch, as he further shared in the interview –
When I was out on the pitch, I could express myself in the way I wanted. I was able to focus on my game as captain, and had to give out orders ‘Left’, ‘Right’, ‘Man on’.
The defender credited Football with alleviating his fears of speaking with a stammer, and now, Upamecano is rubbing shoulders with the world’s best while also being a Football superstar.