At only 24, Asamoah Gyan is quickly becoming one of Ghana’s most important players. The lone striker, who scored 3 goals during the 2010 African Cup of Nations, is ambitious and believes the Black Stars can cause a few upsets in South Africa. Afrik-news.com chats with Rennes’ forward as he gets ready to go into his second World Cup.
Afrik-news.com: How is the training going on?
Asamoah Gyan: It’s going well. We’ve been here for a couple of days and it’s going well. There’s a great team spirit. We’re all happy to be there. There’s a big task ahead of us.
What is Ghana’s aim for the WC ?
Asamoah Gyan:The expectations are high as in 2006 in Germany. But we need to do more and better than that. We can’t let people down.
Losing Essien was a big blow, wasn’t it ?
Asamoah Gyan: Michael is among the best in the world in his position, if not the best. But now he’s not with us, we need to do without him. We’re a team, not just one player. We have an all around team as we showed in Angola. We reached the final of the African Cup of Nations without all the big names. We have an experienced group and we need to concentrate on the future.
How do you feel about being the target man up front ?
Asamoah Gyan: I’m the spearhead of the attack, people expect a lot from me. At the World Cup, I need to be stronger than at the African Cup of Nations. I’m 100% fit so I’m going to give my heart out. All I think of is putting the ball in the net. And I’m hoping for an excellent World Cup.
Don’t you feel too lonely to be the one man up front ?
Asamoah Gyan: That’s our game plan. I’m alone up front, I need to keep the ball and wait for the others to come and support. I’m following the coach’s orders.
Did you set yourself an aim to reach ?
Asamoah Gyan: No. I don’t believe in predictions. I just want to have the best game possible and maybe I’ll score goals. The most important is for Ghana to win its games.
How is Kevin Prince Boateng settling ?
Asamoah Gyan: Kevin Prince joined the Black Stars in the middle of that controversy surrounding Ballack. He assured us he didn’t do it on purpose. I think it’s obvious he didn’t. No one wants to injure another player like that. And he was born in Germany. When he joined though, he had more of an European mentality. Now, he’s totally African ! He laughs, he sings, he jokes with us…
How important is singing to you ?
Asamoah Gyan: We’re Africans : we have a different approach to things compared to Europeans. Singing is very important to us. We need to make sure we have fun. The whole squad is united and we feel no pressure. It’s fun. But we know when and how to concentrate on the football.
Who’s the best singer in the squad ?
Asamoah Gyan:Me ! (laughs) I’m the lead singer. I always start singing and then the rest of the team joins in. On the bus, we sing. Usually gospel songs to find inspiration and strength. But the dressing room is a place to concentrate. Sometimes, we even sing in the tunnel to impress the opponents.
How do you feel as you’re about to play your second World Cup ?
Asamoah Gyan: I’m 24 and certainly older than I was 4 years ago. It’s my second World Cup and have an idea of how it’s going to be. As I said, I’m 100% fit and I’m mentally OK, I had a good season, both with my club and at the African Cup of Nations, so I’m confident. For the first World Cup in Germany I was anxious. We all lacked the experience. It was the first World Cup for Ghana. Take the game against Italy : it was our first game. We did well but in the end, we lost (2-0). We’ve all learned since so we’ll do well this time.
Any players impressed you during training ?
Asamoah Gyan:We had a friendly game last week and Dominic Adiyiah and André Ayew have been impressive. But we’re an all around team so we’re all good.
What are Ghana’s strengths ?
Asamoah Gyan: I won’t tell you ! (laughs) Nor will I tell you about our weaknesses. The coach knows and he’s the only one who needs to.
Who is your idol ?
Asamoah Gyan: Ronaldo. For me, he’s the best player of all time. No comparison. My brother was my idol when I was younger. He’s a striker too and he advised me a lot on what to do and not to do. He helped by directing me. I also liked Abedi Pelé and Tony Yeboah of course, but for me the best is Ronaldo.