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Interview: One-on-one with Asamoah Gyan about the Africa Cup of Nations

Posted On Tuesday, 22nd January 2013
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan on what the Nations Cup means to him, the Black Stars’ chances and his first memory of the tournament.

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan talks about the Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan on what the Nations Cup means to him, the Black Stars’ chances and his first memory of the tournament.

If you had to describe the Africa Cup of Nations to someone who has never seen it, what would you say?
The Africa Cup of Nations 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 Africans.

Do you remember the first time you were watching Africa Cup of Nations on television as a kid?
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. Of course I watched it, but I didn’t listen to the news. 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, it brought a lot of positive emotions. That is why anytime I am on television, like when I play at the Africa Cup of Nations, I try to do it like them to bring back these positive feelings to the fans.

Now that you’re the captain and play for the Black Stars, there’s a wonderful unity and bond within the Ghana team. How important is this bond that gets you closer to your teammate to help you perform on the pitch?
Yes, I think we are one of the most united international teams. Every time we are in competition we forget about the game and we make ourselves happy by playing football. It doesn’t mean we don’t concentrate on the game, because every time we go on the field we are concentrated and focused on the match. But we try to take pressure off ourselves, to not think too much about the opponent we are playing against. This is what motivates us to play a match, and anytime we go on the field we demonstrate it to the people who are watching us, because the Ghanaian team is simply fun. In my opinion Ghana is one of the teams that is good, because the unity and the team spirit is there.

You’re working with a new head coach now, Kwesi Appiah, a former Black Star captain himself. How do you find working with him so far?
He is a great man; back home 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 player can achieve. Also, the players know him and the kind of person he is. 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.

Who do you consider to be the strongest team at the Africa Cup of Nations?
There are many strong teams; the strongest teams from all over Africa are coming together in South Africa this year. Ivory Coast, Morocco, Zambia and Tunisia are coming. All lot of teams that are participating have proven that they can come out as a winner. It is not going to be an easy tournament.

Traditionally African football is unpredictable because the outcome is totally different each year. What do you feel you have to do as a team to win this tournament?
I think we do have high quality players, but what we also need to succeed is the right focus, dedication and hard work. I think if we have these three things, we can really go far, because we have the quality, so we just need to be determined to fight. We have to concentrate and make sure we work hard.

How would an AFCON victory be compared with other highlights in your career?
I think 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. It would be a very big thing for us as a team and for Ghana as a country as well. I am praying to God for this to happen.

To hear more from Asamoah Gyan, Ghana and other players and teams who will feature in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations go to www.puma.com/africanfootball

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READERS COMMENTS

  1. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    GYAN
    IS A FOOLISH STRIKER. HE HAS NO KILLER INSTINCT INFRONT OF THE NET. ANY STRIKER WHO CANT SMELL BLOOD INFRONT
    OF THE NET IS USELESS, IMPOTENT STRIKER! ALWAYS PLAYFUL, NO SERIOUSNESS WATSOEVER. LIKE A KID IN AN ADULT MAN’S BODY…AA SHOULD JUST STRIP HIM OFF THE CAPTAIN BAND AND GIVE IT TO BADU OR JONATHAN MENSAH. LOOK AT HIM WITH HIS IMMATURE HAIRSTYLE. ARE U SERIOUS?
    WHY ARE THE NAMES ON THESE FOOLISH TYE N DYE PUMA JERSEYS IN SMALL CAPS. I WANT TO KNOW WHY? GFA, DID PUMA GIVE US A DISCOUNT TO HVE
    OUR NAMES IN SMALL LETTERS OR NOT? ATROCIOUS JERSEYS FROM PUMA. AFCON HAS TURNED INTO A PUMA FASHION SHOWCASE….FOOLISH GFA!
    NYANTAKYI NEEDS BINOCULARS NOT GLASSES, BCOS HE STILL CANT SEE SHIT!

  2. bbc says:

    pls stop this rubish interview on Gyan until he start deliverying the goal. The question is since this guy retired and he was begged to come back what has he done to the time? Absolutely nothing even Gyan was the culprit in our draw with congo not the defenders. If a striker can not score a panelty and simple goals what do you expect defenders to do?

  3. Chu says:

    Yeye journalist. Ask him why he missed that empty goal with a half dead monster in it

    • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

      PERHAPS BCOS GYAN HIMSELF IS A HALF DEAD MONSTER HIMSELF. WHENEVER HE SEES HIS KIND…LIKE MWEENE OR THE DR CONGO GOALIE, HE FEELS PRESSURED SO HE WASTES THE OPPORTUNITY…ME N U PAAAAA. IF HE HAD MISSED THIS CHANCE AT POLICE QUARTERS OR ACCRA ACADEMY PARK. THE SPECTATORS WOULD TELL HIM TO GIE PARK ER NO…MEANING LEAVE THE PARK!

  4. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    AMPUTEE STRIKER WEI….? TWEAAA!

  5. African Consciousness says:

    Guys calm down, the tournament is still going on the Black Stars haven’t lost yet. Let us inspire them save the insults for after the tournament is over and the fail to deliver. If you start writing demoralizing blogs I would assume you are Zambians, Malians or even Congolese masquerading as Ghanaians. If you have constructive ideas that would help the coach and the team then come out with otherwise do not be a drag.

  6. GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

    AFRICAN. FUCK OFF…U ARE A AN IDIOT AND U WILL PAY DEARLY FOR YOUR DEEDS. GOD IS WATCHING YOU. BE CAREFUL AS U DRIVE. FOOL…

  7. Papa Nkrumah says:

    Come on GH FUO. Calm down. AFRICAN did not say anything terrible. He only asked that we postpone the fire until the team actually fails at the tournament. But frankly, I have been struggling to understand what is happening in our Black Stars. Between Dede Ayew, Jerry Akaminko, Asamoah Gyan and Derek Boateng who is really not disciplined???

  8. Black stars lover says:

    Gh fuo u r also a foolish commentator bullsh**t r u de only ghanaian. Hu do u fink u r. If asamoah gyan is nobody y do u use ur precious tym 2 read his interview. wen he doesnt even he doesnt even know u exist. Wat do u do for ghana maybe u ar an armed robber.stop being obnoxious n give sage advice MR. FOOLISH GH FUO. I hope u will regret maklng dis jibe comment. U write and i will be here in a jiffy. Even messi missed me nd u last weekend





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