Ghana’s skipper prepares to resume national duties but may find the team a very different one from that he last featured for
After a lengthy absence from international action, Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan returns for the Black Stars‘ date against Rwanda in their final Afcon 2017 qualifier due early next month. With so much having happened since Gyan’s last appearance in November 2015, though, is the team as dependent on the Wenchi native as before?
Two of KickerGH‘s writers debate the topic. Join them!
SAMMIE FRIMPONG: ‘No Gyan, no problem‘
Three-fourths of a year have passed since Gyan last played for Ghana. The Stars may have been involved in only three competitive games since the start of Gyan’s injury-enforced exile, but very little remains same.
Jordan Ayew, since his move to England’s Aston Villa last year, has generally improved as a team player, if not necessarily in terms of his striking prowess. With the likes of Frank Acheampong, Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew all lending the 24-year-old a hand with respect to goalscoring, the team may have grown less reliant on Gyan upfront.
And, oh, about the team’s leadership?
Well, that hasn’t really ever been in doubt, has it?
Gyan may well reclaim the armband on his return but, with his deputy Ayew fit, it’s only too obvious who was the real boss even before the former departed temporarily. With Ayew’s influence only becoming stronger in Gyan’s absence, the Shanghai SIPG man hasn’t been missed. Very little of that should change going forward.
JOSHUA ANSAH: ‘Gyan still as relevant‘
Gyan is arguably the best goalscorer the Stars have ever had and quite comfortably the best of the nation’s current bunch of strikers, hence to insinuate that a period of time without the former Sunderland star being available has resulted in the team outgrowing him is completely untenable.
Grant’s team may have put in some very good performances in its regular skipper’s absence and, perhaps more crucially, has managed to find goals elsewhere but there’s no doubt that, regardless of the strides made, Gyan’s presence still automatically pushes the team up a notch in terms of quality. For all the quality available to Grant, there’s still no striker who could be constantly picked over the Baby Jet and certainly no player of identical quality ready to fill in for him. The Stars may have done reasonably well to cope and adapt without their captain and star striker, but it’s still far too early to suggest that Gyan doesn’t make the collective an improved lot.