Teams /  Ghana  / Ghana 
Ghana have 1,027 Fans
Asamoah Gyan hits it off with Sunderland's fans
Paul Doyle - 3 years ago

There is a good chance Asamoah Gyan will be celebrating more than just his 25th birthday tomorrow. Having scored four goals in his past three appearances for Sunderland, including an excellent strike in Sunday's victory at Chelsea, the Ghanaian will be confident of finding the net against Everton. That would further endear him to fans and make it seem even more improbable that there was a time when supporters, not Sunderland's, wanted to kill him. But there was.

Steve Bruce made Gyan Sunderland's record signing in the summer when he bought him for £13m from French club Rennes but, if the size of the fee and expectations placed any burden on the striker, it cannot have been more onerous than the pressure he endured during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana, as hosts, were considered one of the favourites to win but they laboured through the group stages, during which Gyan squandered a slew of chances. He was particularly wasteful during the 1-0 win over the minnows Namibia, so much so that he received death threats from enraged fans. One small group of extremist supporters descended on his family home to harass his mother, prompting the striker and his elder brother, Baffour, a midfielder who spent a decade playing in eastern Europe before returning to Ghana where he now turns out for Asante Kotoko, to vow to quit playing for the national team unless the abuse ceased. Ghana's then manager, Claude Le Roy, warned fans that if they hounded Gyan out they would be losing a player destined to be one of the game's greats. "People should have patience with Asamoah, he is a very young striker and looking at him objectively I can say that his pedigree is not far off Samuel Eto'o or Didier Drogba," said Le Roy.

That was not the first time such predictions had been made. Gyan has been tipped for the top ever since he scored for Ghana on his debut as a 17-year-old in 2003. It was against Somalia in the first preliminary round of World Cup qualifying – which usually only small fry have to contest – showing how low Ghana's football fortunes had sunk. Gyan has played a prominent role in his country's rise from the nadir to unprecedented heights, yet all along his mental fortitude has been tested as his achievements have been pockmarked by mishaps.

In 2006 he became the first Ghanaian to score in the World Cup finals, his goal in the 2-0 win over the Czech Republic after 70 seconds turning out to be the fastest of that tournament. However he missed a penalty in that match and in the second-round defeat against Brazil he was sent off after earning a second yellow card for a preposterous dive. Last summer, of course, he excelled in South Africa but will forever be remembered for missing the penalty against Uruguay that would have propelled an African country into the semi-final for the first time. But he demonstrated great dignity and steel in the aftermath of that miss – not least when he volunteered to take the first penalty in the subsequent shoot-out, and scored.

It seems that, as may be divined from the slinky dance with which he celebrates goals, this is an upbeat man who does not dwell on the down-side of life. Earlier this year he provided entertaining proof of that when he released a hit single, 'African Girls', with Ghana's leading hiplife star, Castro the Destroyer. Gyan appears gurning and gyrating in the video to the song, which intriguingly rejoices that "African Girls, they be sweet, sexy like cheese." For all his confidence, however, and despite the powerful, clever and selfless running and distribution that, as Le Roy indicated, is indeed reminiscent of Drogba, there remains a suspicion that too often Gyan's composure deserts him in front of goal. He scored three times at the last World Cup but hit more shots off target than any other player in the tournament. Last season his haul of 13 goals for mid-table Rennes was commendable but his chance conversion rate was 16%, among the worst rates of any forward in the league. There is no doubt he has been doing well but, if age – and perhaps the experience of working with Darren Bent? – can help him improve his finishing, his best is yet to come. There could be a lot more celebratory dancing in Sunderland.

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

Podcasts - 1 week ago
Gyan stated: “There will be a serious trouble with our football, especially at the Football Association, in-fighting among members and certain clubs will also battle themselves to the wire even before the league starts. There is certainly going to be ... - 2 weeks ago
As is narrated by James Oyedeji (aka 'Uncle Bodey'), one of Ghana's foremost football archivists, Madrid's visit to Ghana was a response to a question posed by football-loving Ghanaian head-of-state Kwame Nkrumah to Ohene Djan, his able lieutenant and ... - 3 weeks ago
Ghanaian football is nothing without Nigeria's, and the opposite is just as true. Both exist to mark each other out. They are the rule by which we are measured; the country we have the divine right to beat any day. 'Our old mistresses', we love to call ...
August 27 - FIFA appears to have cleared the head of the Ghanaian Football Association of match-fixing allegations following reports in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph and the Channel Four television station. The ruling is a huge boost for ...
Tribal Football - 1 week ago
Ghana striker Majeed Waris is back on the radar of Premier League clubs. The Daily Star Sunday says Leicester City have made an enquiry for Spartak Moscow striker Waris. Foxes boss Nigel Pearson has declared he hopes to bring in three new signings ... - 3 weeks ago
The 21-year-old who was born in Maamobi, a suburb of the nation's capital, Accra but moved to Europe whilst a teenager is one of the best kept secrets in midfield in Ghanaian football. Goal Ghana's Edmund Okai Gyimah has been monitoring the exploits of ...
(WFI) Jetts Fitness says their kit sponsorship extension with the Melbourne Victory was a “no-brainer.” The Victory were last season's champions in Australia's W-League. Jetts Fitness and Banking on Football were the kit sponsors. The Football ... - 2 weeks ago
Fifa is a body founded in 1904 in France and based in Zurich, Switzerland. It has 209 member associations, and its goal, as enshrined in its Statutes, is the constant improvement of football. Fifa employs some 310 people from over 35 nations and is ... - Yesterday
As has been recently revealed by the Ghana Football Association, players called up for the Black Stars would henceforth be required to agree to a code of conduct that would regulate their behaviour while in national colours, following the unsavoury ...
FRANCE 24 - 1 week ago
Sierra Leone, meanwhile, have held talks with Ghana about moving their home matches to Accra. The response has not been encouraging. The Ghana Football Association released a statement saying: "Though keen on offering its support, the GFA are ...

Latest Photo Galleries

World Cup 2010: The best pictures of Ghana v Uruguay
4 years ago
The best pictures of an epic quarter-final match between Ghana and Uruguay
World Cup 2010: Round of 16, day one
4 years ago
We bring you the action as the knockout stages get underway with matches involving Uruguay and South Korea and Ghana and the USA
World Cup 2010: Jo'burg's African immigrant fans enjoy the World Cup
4 years ago
Our photographer Andy Hall, visits Yeoville, a suburb of Johannesburg, a community of migrants from all over the country and the rest of Africa. It is a vibrant and colourful pan-African area seen as a microcosm of Africa in central Johannesburg, and is home to the most diverse community of Africans in living in South Africa.
Kick4Life - changing lives through football