Asamoah Gyan interview: Past heartache spurring Ghana to glory

first_imgAl Ain striker Asamoah Gyan will spearhead the Ghana attack against Burkina Faso tonight as he seeks to end the Black Star’s long wait for a fifth African Cup of Nations title.With their last triumph coming in 1982 there has been a series of false dawns for one of Africa’s most talented football countries.Ghana captain Gyan, who wears the PUMA EvoSpeed 1 FG football boot, was a runner-up in 2010 and tells Sport360° he is determined to take his nation one step further.Can you sum up the mood in the camp ahead of tonight’s match?We have had a good tournament so far and I am proud of what the team has achieved to this point. The spirit in our team is unbelievable and the attitude of the players towards each other has helped us perform on the pitch.This is the same spirit we had in South Africa three years ago during the World Cup and is the reason I love playing for my country – there is a unity I have not experienced with any other team, I truly believe it is unique.How would you describe the Cup of Nations to someone who has never seen it?It is like a tradition for us Africans and everybody is desperate to see the games and follow the teams. The fans love football with a real passion back home in Africa. During this tournament fans support their teams with all their heart, and they do everything for it, which makes this game so special to us. Do you remember the first time you were watching African Cup of Nations on television?Yes, I do remember it was in 1994. I watched Ghana play, but I think they lost against Ivory Coast. The tournament made a huge impact on me as a kid, to see what it meant to the people of Ghana was very inspiring for me.What did it mean to the people? What did it mean to you?It has always meant a lot to the Ghanaians, but back then I didn’t really know much about it, I didn’t follow the game as much. What I remember is that I watched great players like Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah, who were amazing players at that time and I admired them a lot. Seeing them on television made people happy, and it made me happy.So it brought up a lot of positive emotions?Yes. That is why anytime I am on television, like when I play at the African Cup of Nations, I try to do it like them to bring back these positive feelings to the fans.You’re working with a new head coach now, James Kwesi Appiah, himself a former Black Star captain. How do you find working with him so far?He is a great man, everybody knows him as a gentleman. He has worked with the team for quite a long time and he knows the different qualities of the individual players. When he was appointed as the head coach, it seemed like a logical decision, as he has a great insight into what a player can achieve.He is a man who can take responsibility, which is basically what a coach needs. Since he took over everyone is happy and we are doing what he wants, in a tactical way, and we try to make sure we abide by what he says. How would an AFCON victory be compared with other highlights in your career?It would change a lot, maybe not for me personally, but in general it would change a lot of things in the careers of many players, because it has been a while since we lifted the cup and everybody in Ghana is expecting us to bring the trophy home. If we manage to win the cup, we are going to make history.last_img

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