It has been a dramatic week for Ghana’s senior national team, the Black Stars, with its skipper, Asamoah Gyan, retiring over a loss of his captaincy — only to rescind his decision mere hours later in response to an appeal by Ghana’s head of state, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Subsequently, Gyan has been included in Ghana’s provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations by head coach Kwesi Appiah, yet even after the dust has seemingly settled, many are left wondering whether Gyan’s return would ultimately prove beneficial for the side. Daily Mail GH writers debate.
1. JOSHUA ANSAH — ‘SURE THING!’ 👍
For quite a few reasons, Gyan’s return to the Black Stars can only be construed as a good thing.
Let us start with his remarkable scoring rate for the country: Gyan’s 51 international goals in 106 games constitute a national record, and this obviously makes him a valuable presence in the squad. Add to it his considerable experience at major tournaments — nine in his 16 years as a Black Star, plus an Olympics appearance — and you have a player who, when fit, is a sine qua non. Earlier this week, one Daily Mail GH writer drew comparisons between Gyan’s comeback and Roger Milla’s for Cameroon’s participation at the 1990 Fifa World Cup, and while the circumstances slightly differ, the parallels are strong and the projections not improbable. So when Gyan — as patriotic a Ghanaian footballer as could be found anywhere — is called upon in Egypt, there is every guarantee that he would bin the recent furore and any lingering bitterness to make the sort of impact we’ve come to expect of him over the years. And now there is an extra point to prove — in what is almost certainly his last outing for Ghana — as Gyan sets out to show he is not nearly as finished as many suppose he is.
2. SAMMIE FRIMPONG — ‘IT’S SO NOT!’ 👎
If there is anything worse than not having Gyan in the Black Stars, it is having him only because of “a presidential request… that cannot be disregarded.”
The Kayserispor man returns to the Ghana set-up only begrudgingly, and it is unlikely trainer Kwesi Appiah is any more eager to have him around after all that has gone down this week. The Stars’ camp is already fractured as it is, given the thorny issue of the Gyan-Ayew captaincy feud, but now there is another fault line to manage between Appiah and Gyan. The effect of these battles of egos on team spirit — at the toughest edition of the Afcon yet, needless to say — cannot be overstated, and Ghana may have lost the plot ahead of its latest bid to quench a lengthy thirst for continental success. For all Gyan typically brings to the national team — goals, valor and more — his inclusion this time looks like a liability; and that’s not even considering the fact that he’s ceased being an influence on the team after a 20-month absence. Old, weary, and — in the context of this debate — unwilling, his involvement for Ghana in Egypt hardly feels inspired.
Daily Mail GH