Why Mo Salah - One Of The World's Best Footballers Travelled 4 Hours a Day On 5 Buses To Train!
By Jatinder Singh, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
Even if you aren't a football fan, it's unlikely that you haven't seen a photo or heard the name Mo Salah mentioned in the media recently. The Egyptian striker who plays for Liverpool Football Club in the Premier League has had an outstanding season, defying all expectations to win the Golden Boot (an award given to the player who has scored the most number of goals in the season).
What makes his season even more sensational is that Mo Salah previously played in the Premier League for Chelsea, but was seen as a flop after not making much of an impact for them. Indeed after signing for Chelsea in 2014, he spent most of his time on loan to other clubs, including AS Roma where he subsequently permanently moved to.
However as we can see in this article, it was mainly the case that Mo Salah wasn't given enough time to adjust to the Premier League when he first moved to Chelsea and hence mature into the player he has now become. As we see below, he always had the dedication and drive to be a great player...
Being Passionate About What You Do
One of the biggest similarities that we will find with legends is the passion they have for what they do. As Mr Salah said of his passion for football:
"I first fell in love with football when I was a kid, around seven or eight years old. I remember watching the Champions League all the time and then trying to be like the Brazilian Ronaldo, Zidane and Totti when playing out in the street with my friends. I loved those kinds of players, players who played with magic."
Having a Vision
Mo Salah also had a powerful vision for his life. Even when he was young he dreamed of being a footballer and thought of nothing else:
"...Since I started playing at 14, everything in my mind was about becoming a footballer. It was a question, ‘what will I be?’, but it was difficult to say because I had nothing else in my mind. If I was not a good football player, I am sure my life would be difficult now because I gave everything for football. When I look back, the memories of my time with Arab Contractors (his schoolboy team) are good ones. I was young and I had a dream.
Making Sacrifices To Succeed
Nevertheless, passion is one thing. It's the discipline to make the sacrifices that are needed to achieve success at the highest level that really sets someone like Mo Salah apart. Here about his dedication to training:
"I had originally been playing for a club that was half an hour away from my village in Basyoun. Then I signed for a club in Tanta, which was one-and-a-half hours away. From there, I went to Arab Contractors in Cairo, so it was a four to four-and-a-half-hour journey five days a week to get to training.
I was having to leave school early to travel to training. I would go in from 7am until 9am and then I had an official paper to give to my club to say, ‘Mo can leave school early so he can reach the club at 2pm to train’.
For five days a week, every week for three or four years, I would make this journey. I was leaving at 9am in the morning...I would finish training at say 6pm, then I’d go home and arrive at 10pm or 10.30pm. Then it was eat, sleep and then the day after the same thing.
And it wasn’t just taking one bus – I’d have to transfer buses three, four or even sometimes five times just to arrive at training and then back home again."
As we can see Mo Salah came from very humble beginnings. Like many highly successful people from all walks of life who have succeeded, he used his passion for what he did to fuel the sacrifices that he had to make to reach the top.
There is no way that we can achieve international levels of success by working only a few hours a day, regardless of the messages that we may see in the media saying otherwise. Success requires us to be able to delay gratification in the moment for the things we want now in order to be able to achieve the things that mean the most to us later down the line. Mo Salah clearly represents someone with the strength of character to do this!
Want To Apply This To Your Own Life?
Mo Salah image courtesy of Wikimedia