LB presents a Full Story of a Football Legend best known by the nickname; “Big Chief”. Our Rigobert Song Childhood Story plus Untold Biography Facts brings to you a full account of events from his childhood time to date.
The analysis includes his life story before fame, family, near death and many off-pitch facts about him.
Yes, everyone knows about his dominance in the defence line of the Cameronian national team. However, only a hand few fans know much about Rigobert Song’s Bio which is quite interesting. Now without further adieu, let’s Begin.
Rigobert Song Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
Rigobert Song Bahanag was born on the 1st day of July 1976 at Nkenglicock, a town in southern Cameroon where emptiness ends when there is football at every at one’s foot.
He was born to his mother, Bernadette Song and late father, Paul Song. Song’s father, Paul Song, died when he was young. As such, he never really knew his dad but nevertheless dedicates all his success to him. Without a doubt, his father’s absence in his life was a strong motivational force for him.
During his teenage years, Song was considered as an alpha youth, someone who assumed a domineering role in every football-playing situations in his native hometown. Back then, he possessed a steely determination as he played for local clubs and against players far above his age.
A true moment came for Rigobert Song, the day his dream came to pass. Getting picked up by a French scout for a French club callup (Metz) was the moment Rigobert realized he would finally be rich. At this call-up time, Song’s ambitions to play for his national team now appeared not to be a passing fantasy.
Song upon approaching French started his professional career at Metz. He made several strong appearances that earned him a selection to The Indomitable Lions for the World Cup in 1994 where he became a world record holder (the youngest footballer to get a red card in the history of a World Cup tournament).
The rest, as they say, is now history.
Rigobert Song and Gabrielle Esther Nnomo Mballa – The Love Story:
Without a doubt, Rigobert is an icon as far as African football is concerned. His playing ability and potential, especially his lifestyle off the pitch builds up a complete picture of him.The truth is; Rigobert is a complete family man. The love of his life, Gabrielle Esther Nnomo Mballa has been with Song right from his playing days.
Both Song and Esther have four children (two sons and two daughters). Their children’s names are; Ronny, Bryan, Yohanna Bernadette and Hillary Veronique Liliane. Rigobert Song has ensured that his family (wife and kids) stays in Liverpool while he moved to other countries to play his football.
Rigobert Song Near-Death Story:
It all happened on a fateful day, 3rd October 2016 when Cameroonian and French doctors struggled for days to save the life of Rigobert Song who suffered a cerebral attack which came through a stroke.
Former Cameroon player Rigobert Song had a stroke at his home in Yaounde that saw him fall into a coma. According to reports, if it weren’t for his dog he would’ve died. However, it was widely reported on social media and numerous news websites that he was already dead.
Rigobert, when granted an interview after recovery gave an account on what actually happened. In his words…
“I had left the door open because I was waiting for a visitor, had I left it closed I would be dead. I did not know what was happening to me. I was totally innocent. I did not even know I was fighting between life and death. As I I fell and felt helpless, I saw my dog began to bark loudly which alerted my landlord who called an ambulance.
It was indeed a miracle!!. When I woke up from the coma I weighed only 60 kilos, incredible for a guy as big as I was,”
Below is Rigobert Song hours after he woke up from his two days coma.
While he was in the coma, the former Liverpool player said he was convinced he saw his dead father. In his words…
“The darkness began and while I was in a coma, I saw my father who had died when I was too little to remember. Upon seeing me, he said; Rigobert!!, What are you doing there?? Come!!! He said to me. It was indeed a difficult situation.
I’m glad now I am living in the present, and no more in the past. What is important is that I’m in good health, I’m ok,”
Those were the words Rigobert told BBC’s World Football. Rigobert believed it was his fans, family/relatives and notably, his country’s President, Paul Biya who paid $78,000 for his medical bills that saved him. He was also grateful for the kind words of Liverpool via twitter as seen below.
He further said…
“All fans especially my family had already put God in trouble. They all knew how bad my situation was and began to pray. Everyone in my family members was praying, asking ‘God please don’t do that, don’t take Rigobert’. I say thank-you everyone for making me come back.”
Rigobert Song Family Life:
The thought of losing his father, Paul Song at a tender age and not even having a picture of him in his memory brings unbearable pain to Rigobert Song. While growing up, his mother, Bernadette Song got the assistance of his relatives.
Also included is his half-brother who is the father of former Arsenal footballer and Cameroon defensive midfielder, Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong, AKA Alex Song.
Alex Song is forever grateful to his uncle Rigobert Song who has been like a second father and a major influence in him choosing football as a career. Below is Alex and his family.
Aside from Zinedine Zidane, Rigobert Song is the only player to have been sent off in two different World Cups, one against Brazil in 1994 and another against Chile in 1998. He also holds the record as the youngest player ever to be sent off in a World Cup, aged 17.
From another angle, Rigobert Song is said to be the only player to play in both the 1994 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments. He was featured in the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Finally, a shocking fact had once revealed a 24 years and 42 days age gap between Roger Milla (42 years and 35 days) pictured above and 17-year-old Rigobert Song (17 years and 358 days) during the 1994 world cup. This age gap remains the largest between the two teammates in World Cup history.
It is pertinent to note that ageless striker Roger Milla led the Indomitable Lions to the World Cup quarter-final in the year 1900.
Don’t Compare me to Rio Ferdinand:
When Rigobert Song signed for West Ham United for £2.5 million in the year 2000, The club identified him as a possible replacement for Rio Ferdinand, who was transferred to Leeds United. This fact angered the Ex-Cameronian defender.
Rigobert Song’s debut was described by the BBC as “unhappy”. In his first days, Song insisted that he did not want to be compared to Ferdinand, as he believed it was derogatory to his own talent.
Rigobert Song Personal Life:
Rigobert is deeply intuitive and sentimental. He is very emotional, sensitive, and care deeply about matters of the family and his home. Rigobert is sympathetic and attached to people he keeps close. He is someone who will empathize with other people’s pain and suffering. Base on the above premise, we now provide you with a summarized attributes of his personality.
Strengths: He is Tenacious, highly imaginative, emotional, sympathetic and very persuasive.
Weaknesses: He could be moody, pessimistic, suspicious and manipulative.
What Rigobert Song likes: Art, hobbies (home-based type), relaxing near or in water, helping his family/relatives and having a good meal with friends.
What Rigobert dislikes: Strangers, any criticism of his lovely Mom, revealing of personal facts about his wife and girlfriend (s) etc.
Rigobert Song Managerial Hopes;
In late 2015, Song was reportedly close to becoming the manager of the Chad national team but an agreement was never finalised for reasons unknown. In February 2016, Song was appointed as manager of the Cameroon “A” national team.
The “A” team is a national team composed of players based in Cameroon. As at April 2018, Rigobert became was one of 77 applicants for the vacant Cameroon national team job.
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