Asamoah Gyan: The legendary skipper whose cult status could be marred by self-centredness.

 

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,”

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently; not pretending my presence would not fuel the purported undermining the country has seen under my captaincy.

“I would like to also thank journalists and all my fans who have supported and traveled the world with the team. I wish the technical team and the players the best of luck.”

These were part of Asamoah Gyan’s retirement letter as he finally bowed out of the Ghana senior national football team on Monday after sixteen years.

Most Ghanaian football loving fans were in total shock when the Black Stars legendary skipper announced that he has quit the team. The Kayserispor striker is no Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and definitely he was going to quit one day but no one anticipated it will be now as he had repeatedly emphasized that he will be done with the Black Stars after the AFCON in Egypt.

Gyan has been the main heart and soul of the Black Stars team for the last decade. The 33-year-old has attained cult status and is widely respected by everyone locally and internationally as a whole.

Being Africa’s all time top scorer at the FIFA World Cup is no fluke, at least the likes of Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and others could not achieve that. Sadly, one moment of impatience could erase all what Gyan has done for Ghana in his illustrious career. There is an adage which goes like: “It is better to leave in peace but not in pieces.” This wise saying should have served as a guidance to Gyan. As human as we are, the one bad thing you did whilst bowing out will always be fresh in peoples memory since it will cover all the good ones. Don’t be surprised if Gyan’s 51 goals in 106 appearances for Ghana is relegated to the back yard.

The journey of undoubtedly Ghana’s best man up front has been remarkable, the striker nicknamed “Baby Jet” was an epitome of Ghana’s three world cup appearances. At the age of 20, the nimble-footed attacker took the world by storm. He scored Ghana’s first ever World Cup goal which was against Czech Republic in 2006 as Ghana reached the second round.

Four years later, playing like a man possessed by some “evil” spirits, Gyan was one of the stars at the 2010 World Cup. He netted three goals and was gunning for the Player of the Tournament award until a certain Luis Suarez ended Ghana’s hopes of a semi finals berth with Gyan missing the crucial 120th minute penalty.

Despite Ghana’s debacle in the Brazil World Cup in 2014, Gyan again proved his mettle by scoring against eventual winners Germany and powerhouse Portugal as the Black Stars crushed out in the Group stages.

Prior to coming into the limelight, it was the eagle eyes of former Black Stars coach Ralf Zumdick which spotted Gyan in the Ghanaian local league for Liberty Professionals and handed him his Black Stars debut. He matured steadily to become the first choice striker of the team with Mathew Amoah, Godwin Attram, Joetex Frimpong and others all pairing him up front at a particular point.

Seemingly, Gyan has never been new to controversies, aside his private life, there has always being speculations that there is bad-blood between him and Andre Ayew in relations to the Black Stars captaincy though no one was able to provide concrete evidence until yesterday (Monday).

Casting our minds back, John Mensah was the captain of the team but before getting to the twilight of his career, coach Kwesi Appiah handed the arm band to Gyan in late 2012 so that the later will become the general captain and it went on smoothly with Mensah retiring at a later stage when he saw he had offered it all.

No doubt about the quality of Asamoah Gyan but this is a player who was even hardly playing at Kayserispor until two weeks ago when he started making substitute appearances. The Black Stars skipper has past his prime and there was no way he was going to be in the starting eleven in Egypt.

Gyan was going to the AFCON as a squad player and with Ayew who is going to be a starter around, Kwesi Appiah thought it wise to make the Fernabahce forward his substantive skipper whilst the former takes the general captain role but this did not go down with him as he emphasized that he cannot be in the team for a different player (Andre Ayew) to be made captain thereby deciding to retire.

This act of Gyan is gross disrespect to Ghanaians, the technical team and all truthful lovers of Ghanaian football. The Ghana legend acted immaturely and there is no doubt that he thinks about only him self and has a serious ego.

If Gyan truly wanted to lift the African Cup of Nations trophy, he had all the chance in 2015 at the Estadio de Bata in Equatorial Guinea against Cote D’Ivoire to do so but he chose to be substituted when it was getting to the penalty shoot out. I was at the Stadium that day and I can say with all authority that if Gyan was ready to stay on the field and take the penalty, Afriyie Acquah who missed it won’t have been in our first five takers.

As a matter of fact, Gyan is on the verge of erasing all the good things he has done for Ghana in the past sixteen years with the attitude he displayed yesterday. After all, no player is bigger than Ghana and football is a team work not individual sports.

Who knows, Gyan’s retirement might even be the catalyst for other players to prove a point and win Ghana our fifth AFCON trophy. After all, Ivory Coast did it in 2015 without the indefatigable Didier Drogba.

By: Edmund Okai Gyimah

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