Erstwhile skipper of the Black Stars Asamoah Gyan has revealed that he snubbed a lucrative deal from Manchester City in order to play for Ghana at the 2008 AFCON.
The AFCON that year was hosted by Ghana and Asamoah Gyan by then was making waves at Udinese. He was one of the key members of the Black Stars squad for the tournament. The country’s fate at the tournament rested on his shoulders.
Asamoah Gyan in an interview with Pulse.com.gh has revealed that he sacrificed a lot by snubbing the chance to sign a lucrative deal with Manchester City in 2008 to represent Ghana at the AFCON that year.
“I sacrificed for the nation. I should have been out of the tournament, but I felt that because of the love I have for the country I decided to come because I had a contract to sign for Manchester City, but I ignored the contract. I remember my agent told me I should boycott the Africa Cup of Nations and go for rehab and go and sign the contract.
He also spoke of the unfair criticism he received from Ghanaian football fans.
“At that time I didn’t feel any criticism, starting from the colts level it was like I was being pampered until that time. I didn’t know anything about criticism until that time,” Asamoah Gyan told Pulse Ghana.
“I felt like the criticism was unfair to me because they criticized me and I think it was personal in a game that we won, which Ghanaian were expecting like 10-0. People didn’t understand what was going on at that time, so I thought I was treated unfairly.
During the tournament, Asamoah Gyan and his big brother Baffour Gyan decided to walk out on the Black Stars following criticism after their unconvincing 1–0 win over Namibia. It took the intervention of then President of country John Agyekum Kuffour before the duo rescinded their decision.
“My mother called me and she was crying. I felt it wasn’t the right time to do that in the middle of the tournament and I felt that the whole nation was against me and at that tender age, I was like 20 years, so I felt that the whole nation was against me.
“But I told him the tournament was very important to me because Ghana was hosting it and I missed the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations and that (2008) would have been my first Africa Cup of Nations and Ghana was hosting, so there was a lot of things going through my mind so that was why I got hurt and I decided to just let it go.
Ghana failed to win the AFCON as they were beaten by 1-0 by Cameroon in the semifinal. Asamoah Gyan in the summer that year signed for French side Stade Rennes.