Top players to watch in 2015 AFCON: Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)

Asamoah Gyan
Ghana's striker Asamoah Gyan (Photo: Reuters)
Ahram Online
Thursday 15 Jan 2015
Ghana's all-time leading scorer, will be keen to add a CAN title to his C.V

Asamoah Gyan will be hopeful of leading Ghana to the Africa Cup of Nations title in Equatorial Guinea this time, after the Black Stars managed to secure top-four finishes in the last four editions albeit without winning the trophy.

Gyan, Ghana's all-time leading scorer, will be also keen to add a CAN title to his C.V having yet to win a major international tournament  throughout his career.

But the 29-year-old's international contributions could not be overlooked after he was on the brink of taking Ghana to the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup, where he scored three goals, if it was not for an unfortunate late penalty miss.   

With just few seconds remaining till the end of a last-eight clash against Uruguay, Gyan stepped up to convert a crucial spot kick after Luis Suarez had handled the ball on the goal-line.

Unluckily, his spotkick was denied by the bar, as the Ghanaians then missed out on being the first African team to reach the World Cup semis after being ousted by the South Americans on penalties.

On the continental level, Gyan didn't fail to get his name on the scoresheet in the last four Cup of Nations, with his best contribution coming in 2010 in Angola – where he notched three goals en route to the final.

However, he was not as prolific in the following two editions – which saw him score only once in each tournament to help the West Africans finish fourth in 2012 and 2013.

But now Gyan will be looking to lead four-time African champions Ghana to a title that has been proving elusive since 1982, and his 2014 World Cup form in particular may suggest he could be his side's deadly weapon in the biennial tournament.

Even though the West Africans failed to go through a deadly Group G comprising eventual winners Germany, Portugal and USA, Gyan still managed to find the net against Europe's two fancied sides.

Capitalizing on his physicality, pace, cannon-like long-range shots and goalscoring prowess from inside the penalty box, the former Sunderland hitman has it all to be one of the most feared strikers of the Nations Cup.

On the club level, the former Sunderland frontman helped UAE side Ain win two successive league titles following his arrival on loan in 2011 before signing a permanent deal the following year.

Having been instrumental for Ghana during their 2015 CAN qualifiers, where he scored three goals to help them finish on top of their group, Gyan is now expected to build on his fine goal-scoring form for his country.

But a crunch Group C awaits him at the Nations Cup, where he will be facing Algeria, Senegal and Guinea.

He needs to be at his best if Ghana are to stand a chance of making if for the next round for the fifth time in a row, as they open their campaign against Senegal on January 19.  

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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