The above caption will surely generate a huge furore among soccer fans. There is nothing that captivates the interest of fans more than intense debate over who is the finest of the greatest players. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continue to dominate world football, leaving soccer pundits and laymen marginalized in their thought as to who the current world best player truly is…
Let us narrow our scope to Ghana. One player who over the years has proven and endeared himself to Ghanaians is Asamoah Gyan. At just 29 years, the Al-Ain forward is Ghana’s all time leading goal scorer, a very great feat indeed.
After making his début for the senior national team on 19th November, 2003 where he scored his first ever goal for the Black Stars against Somalia, the man affectionately called Baby Jet has demonstrated his lethal prowess and currently regarded one of the continent’s finest.
Growing up, I had the rare opportunity of watching some of Ghana’s greats like the legendary Abedi Pele. He was brash, skilful and dexterous to the extent that Edson Arantes do Nascimento popularly known as Pele threw the name “Pele” to him. Pele went further to enlist Abedi Pele’s name in his list of FIFA 100 Greatest players.
Then, in the early 90’s emerged another Ghanaian prodigy called Nii Odartey Lamptey. Again the world best player of all time was so impressed with the Ghanaian that he predicted the young chap will be the player to succeed him. Of course legends like Mohammed Polo, Wilberforce Nfum, Osei Kofi, Tony Yeboah (who is regarded by many as one of the best players to have played in the English Premier League) and the great stars who graced the football pitch with sheer brilliance are worthy of recognition.
But the question is do they have what it takes to be regarded as the best player ever in the history of Ghana football?
Asamoah Gyan scored the fastest goal at the World Cup tournament held in Germany. He also holds the enviable record as the top African scorer in World Cup history. In UAE he has won the goal king for three successive seasons and has been voted the best foreign player twice.
Admittedly that is relatively not enough juxtaposed the achievement of the likes of Abedi Pele, Samuel Osei Kuffuor and Anthony Yeboah. But considering his age and what he stand to achieve in the not too distant future, it will definitely not be out of place to rate him as the best Ghanaian player ever.
Diego Maradona once described him as a dangerous player insisting his club Al Ain might suffer in his absence. He made this comment in the build up to the AFCON tournament held in Equatorial Guinea in 2012. That was when the legendary erstwhile Argentine player was coach of Al Wasl in the UAE league, the very league where Gyan plays.
Though Asamoah Gyan is yet to win Africa’s most prestigious award (best African player award) he is still remembered for very important goals he has scored in competitive and friendly matches for Ghana.
The Ghanaian captain has however endured a torrid stint with the national team. He missed a crucial penalty in the last minute of extra time in a World Cup. Had he scored, Ghana would have secured historic semi final berth of the competition. He also missed another vital penalty against Zambia in an AFCON tournament which ‘fizzled’ the aspirations of the entire team of annexing the trophy after a long wait.
This made him a villain and was maligned with much intensity to the extent that he prematurely retired from the national team to have time to “reflect”. Prior to that, he was verbally abused by soccer fans for performing abysmally at the 2008 edition of the AFCON tournament staged on home soil. As a result a school of thought subscribe to the belief that he is a liability to the national team rather than an asset.
Nevertheless if you carefully follow his exploits with the national team and his club, you might be left with no option than to conclude that Baby Jet is indeed a force to reckon with. Barring any hitch, the AFCON will get underway tomorrow and the Ghanaian captain, eager to prove his sceptics wrong; may lift the trophy to cement his name as the best player Ghana has ever seen.
Are you in doubt?