50 Record Goals, Ghana’s All-Time Top Scorer, Africa’s Greatest Scorer in the World Cup and Still No Love for Asamoah Gyan
Success comes in many forms one of them being recognition for milestone achievements. The mention of Ghana today quickly sparks names like the Ayew brothers and Christian Atsu.
Even high-ranking retirees like Michael Essien, Kwesi Appiah (former captain turned coach), Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari but a few to mention all hold solidarity with the Black Stars whether it is by name, club, or national team performance.
Rarely is Asamoah Gyan applauded in the same bracket given some understanding that he has been at the center of decisive-making moments which he squandered at Ghana’s cost – when he missed match-winning knockout stage penalties against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup and Zambia at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
His decision to leave Sunderland and European football at the peak of his game to join Al Ain of the UAE in 2010, labeled him ‘a waste of talent’ and vilified him in public as a ‘mercenary’.
The growing impatience of Ghanaian fans nose-tipping every chance at winning a major continental trophy has bred a dissatisfying home support more often bundled up with criticism for the 31-year-old whose every move isn’t without dissection. A 32-year wait for an AFCON title is after all some patience to carry.
Be it as it may, Gyan will be in the history books after he became the first player to score 50 goals for the Black Stars in the 5-0 win over Ethiopia on Sunday, 11th June 2017, making him the sixth African to reach that milestone for respective country.
He stands in royalty with Zambian legend Godfrey Chitalu, Egyptian great Hossam Hassan, Ivory Coast icon Didier Drogba, and Cameroon goal machine Samuel Eto’o.
Gyan is also highly ranked as Africa’s all-time top scorer at the FIFA World Cup with six goals and could well be one of the longest serving footballers for Ghana as he has disproved all doubts.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I’m here to prove to everybody I am still who I am,”[/perfectpullquote]
Gyan said in a May interview responding to doubting critics about his form for club and country.
“The right moment will come. All I need is consistency. But for me, the fans, the people here have not treated me fairly, that is what I can say.
“Sometimes I feel disappointed, but I always say you can judge me when I’m playing every game. You cannot judge me when I have an injury. They expect me to perform like I used to.”
Abedi Pele Ayew, Ghana’s symbolic football hero, played in five AFCON tournaments and retired from international football with 33 goals in 67 appearances.
To dare compare is to warrant backlash but Gyan’s impact has without a doubt been an integral part of Ghana’s achievements. Three World Cups and six AFCON tournament participations, scoring in each competition, he is the most capped player.
The Black Stars captain appointed by coach Appiah who made his international debut in 2003 at the age of 17, was in the spotlight during the 2019 AFCON qualifier game but for all the wrong reasons, overshadowing his tallied contributions in a national team jersey.
The saga of the armband
Asamoah Gyan in the customized armband. (Photo credit: Senyuiedzorm Awusi Adadevoh)
Reports of a rift between Gyan and Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew have made rounds in the media for some time now, some of which have been quoted to suggest that indeed, ‘there is a lack of respect’ for the former Sunderland player.
In October 2016, former Black Stars winger Laryea Kingston told Ultimate FM said, “Leadership is very important in the team. As a leader, the people around you have to accept you. But at the moment, I don’t think the players accept their leader (Gyan) because sometimes on the pitch, you can even feel some negative energy towards him (Gyan).”
Gyan’s substitution in the qualifier match against Ethiopia helped fuel those speculations when he did not hand over the armband to senior Ayew, although the reason was later found to be that he wore a custom made strap with a picture of his face.
Logically, Ayew, the assistant captain, would be required to pick a different one from an official of the team but there has been debate over the “needless invention” to style the armband with consideration for FIFA rules on equipment.
Asamoah Gyan customize captain's armband. Ghana/Kwesi Appiah shd be careful, we wld not want the rivalry btw Yeboah & Abedi again…!
— Jojo Bruce-Quansah (@BruceJojo) June 12, 2017
— NetworkOfNews Ghana (@NofNews_Ghana) June 14, 2017
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”That is what I heard which is quite strange that people are making comments about this armband thing after a huge win. Honestly, I don’t know what people want again. Zanetti of Inter Milan had his picture on his armband, Icardi of Inter Milan and Sergio Ramos as well so why is it that anything Asamoah Gyan does becomes an issue,”[/perfectpullquote]
“At the end of the day we have won and we should be happy with that.”
Ghana Head coach was not far from defending the player while talking about the team’s chemistry boggling many fans’ minds.
He said, “There is nothing going on in the team, there is so much peace and unity. Discipline is the highest I have seen since I have been around the team.
“What happened was the captain band had been customized with Gyan’s face on it. We are all aware that if he was being brought off, we could not give the customized version to Dede. The idea was to give Dede the officially provided one.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Asamoah Gyan is the captain of the team and if he wants to wear a customized armband, I don’t see anything wrong with it. For me, captaincy should not be an issue.”[/perfectpullquote]
Love him or hate him, Gyan is not suffering from a goal drought anytime soon but above all, his is a duty to serve his country for as long as he can wear the national team jersey and as captain, is leading the frontline with authority.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It is worrying to hear people say I have an issue with Andre Ayew. I was in the Black Stars before he came and I have been his idol since day one. His father even likes me so well,”[/perfectpullquote]
Gyan said after the game.
Featured Photo: Getty Images