Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan
Asamoah Gyan is a well-known Ghanaian professional footballer. By his captainship of the senior national team, the Black Stars, he is a very important personality, a VVIP perhaps, and is, therefore, up there on the social ladder. He is supposed to dine with kings and queens.
Asamoah Gyan did not get to where he is today by chance or luck. He got there through hard work and probably sheer bravado. Certainly, he has made the best out of his God-given talent.
Affectionately called the Baby Jet because of his speed on the ball and his lightning strikes, Asamoah?s soccer odyssey has taken him from Liberty Professionals in Accra, where he began his career in 2003, to Udinesse in Italy (2003-2008), with a loan spell at Modena (2004-2006) then to Rennes in France (2008-2010), Sunderland in England, (2010-2012) and finally to Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), first on loan (2011-2012) and permanently since 2012.
Many were those who were not happy with his move from Sunderland, where he had established himself as a top marksman. The Black Cats were sorry to lose him since they saw him as one who could help them make an impact in the English premiership.
His admirers, however, believed that his switch from a highly competitive English league to UAE would lead to a dip in his form. But Asamoah has proved everybody wrong, showing that he is as lethal as ever, with his scoring prowess in the UAE league and on the international scene for Ghana.
Gyan made his international debut at the age of 17 and scored for Ghana against Somalia in Accra in November 2003 in the 90th minute, coming in for Isaac Boakye in the 62nd minute, three days before he turned 18 years.
It was a 2006 World Cup qualifier and the goal he scored in a 2-1 Ghana win made him the youngest ever player to score for Ghana. He scored four times in seven matches during that successful World Cup qualifying campaign.
In the World Cup itself (2006), Ghana?s first, he scored the fastest goal of the tournament after 68 seconds against a much more fancied Czech Republic side that included Petr Cech, a world class goalkeeper who only recently left Chelsea which he helped win so many trophies in the past decade. That goal set the Black Stars on their way to a 2-0 victory.
Earlier, he was part of the 2004 Ghana Olympic squad, which exited in the first round, having finished in third place in Group B.
All in all, Asamoah has played more than 90 times for Ghana and has scored about 50 international goals, making him the all-time highest goal scorer for Ghana.
Asamoah?s exploits on the field have certainly brought him fame and wealth. In recent times, the mega-millions or is it the petro-dollar he earns from Al-Ain have made him one of the richest Ghanaians. The recent inauguration of his US$3 million new mansion at Weija on the Mallam-Kasoa Highway attests to this.
As I write, it is reported that he is in China, with the permission of the management of Al-Ain, to enter into talks with Shanghai SIPC who are being handled by former England, Manchester City and Lazio coach, the Swede, Sven-Goran Eriksson.
If the deal goes through, Asamoah is expected to take in about US$250,000 a week. However, other Chinese clubs, such as Guangzhou Evergrande and Beijing Guoanare, are also interested in the Ghanaian captain. Observers say SIPC wants to strengthen its team, especially as city rivals have acquired former Chelsea forward Demba Ba and former Everton midfielder Tom Cahill.
Apart from soccer, Asamoah has shown interest in music and boxing promotion. Last year, Gyan recorded and released a hip-life song with Castro the Destroyer, his friend who went missing when they went on holiday at Ada exactly a year ago. He has also promoted some boxing tournaments under his Baby Jet Boxing Promotions.
With the resources at his disposal, there is nothing Asamoah cannot do. This reminds me of what was credited to the then popular Ghanaian politician and a Minister of State in the first post-independent cabinet of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the late Krobo Edusei.
Only a middle school leaver, politics brought him wealth and he was said to have told those who cared to listen that the gap between him and poverty was very, very wide.
The same may be said of Asamoah today. He may never be poor. For the next few years, barring any serious injury, the dollars will continue to flow in.
In the end
But what he needs is a manager, may be a general manager, who can be in charge of his football and other interests. That person must be mature, somebody who can tell him the truth and guide him through this period when he is on top of the world.
Because of his interest in music and boxing, he has a large following, especially among the youth. While he must show appreciation to the youth through any means, including entertaining them and supporting some of them in their education and business, he must remember that he is a VVIP and football is his main business.
This is time for him to invest properly and wisely so that it will not be said that he wasted all the money he made on frivolities. That is why he needs a mature manager to give him proper and sound advice on investment. He must not just pick any one of his close friends or associates to handle this serious matter.
Asamoah must remember that he is a footballer of class. Whatever news he makes must relate to football. For as much as possible, he must avoid making news for the wrong reasons.
The July 6 event of last year that led to the disappearance of his pal, Castro, and Janet Bandu cannot be his fault. It was purely accidental. Likewise the recent sex scandal may also not be his fault. He must, however, note that many girls may say yes to his approaches, even though they will do so to get a share of the cake, even if it is to blackmail him.
I cannot finish this piece without saluting Asamoah for his public spiritedness. His support for his alma mater, Accra Academy, and his donation to the Stephen Appiah foundation and other donations to needy institutions are all commendable.
Concentrate on your football and all others things shall be added onto it.
By Razak El-Alawa
Culled from the Daily Graphic