TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ASAMOAH GYAN
He is the African hero in the 2010 World Cup, his dance steps earned him the name ‘football Michael Jackson’ and he is Sunderland’s main hitman. But Asamoah has much more that you need to know.
1) Asamoah Gyan was born on November 22nd, 1985, in the Ghanaian town of Accra.
2) For him football began at the Accra Academy, but he was soon picked up by the local team, Liberty Professionals, who play in Ghana’s top division. Perhaps not the most famous club, but Liberty prides themselves on having nurtured some of the country’s best talent, including John Pantsil, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien.
3) Ten goals in sixteen league appearances were enough for Udinese to snap up the 17 year-old in the summer of 2003. He was one in a spate of Ghanaian footballers to hit Serie A at this time, along with Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari and John Mensah.
4) Moving to Italy acted as a catalyst for his international career. In November 2003, three days before his 18th birthday, he announced his arrival onto the international scene by scoring on his debut against Somalia in a crucial World Cup qualifying game. This made him the youngest player ever to score for Ghana, and quickly made him an object of the fans’ affections. He scored four goals in seven matches during the successful qualifying campaign. When the 2006 World Cup finals came around he was quick off the mark again, scoring after only 68 seconds of their opening group game against the Czech Republic, becoming Ghana’s first ever player to find the net in the World Cup finals.
5) After just a year with Udinese he was struggling to get into the first team, so he was loaned out to Serie B side Modena for two years in 2004 where he scored 15 goals in 53 league matches.
6) 2008 was an eventful year for Gyan, as he almost walked out, along with his brother Baffour, from the African Cup of Nations following criticism of the team. Having been convinced by team mates to remain, he helped Ghana go on to finish third.
7) Following his histrionics he returned to Udinese, but was dogged by injury, and never played for the club again. He moved to French side Rennes that summer for a fee of 8 million euro. Before moving to the Stadium of Light he had notched up 14 goals in 47 appearances for the Ligue 1 side.
8) It wasn’t until the World Cup in South Africa that he really made a name for himself. He scored in both of Ghana’s opening games, earning them four points, and securing qualification to the last 16, where they faced USA. In a tight affair Gyan shattered the Amercian’s dreams in extra-time, making Ghana only the third African nation to reach the quarter-finals, along with Cameroon and Senegal.
9) Sadly for Gyan it was the heartache suffered against Uruguay that will stick in people’s minds. With penalties looming Ghana were awarded a spot-kick in the last minute of extra time, but Gyan smashed it into the crossbar. He still stepped up to take the first penalty in the shoot-out, but despite scoring his, Ghana were knocked out.
10) Over the years he’s developed a reputation as Africa’s answer to Michael Jackson. For dancing, before you ask