The Royal Bafokeng Stadium erupts, the streets of Accra erupt with delirious crowd as a nation celebrate its first-ever qualification to the final eight of the biggest football competition on the planet.
It was Gyan’s fourth goal in the tournament and Ghana 8th in two editions of the tournament.
In all competitions and friendlies, it was his 23rd for the country and he will go on to score over 28 more in seven years to make him the greatest scorer in the history of a country that has produced some of the finest finishers the game has seen.
November 19 will mark seventeen years since he made his debut and it has been some journey.
As cliched it has been a journey of ‘ups and down’ overloaded with good and bad memories.
He has been the reason people have poured on the streets to jubilate, he has also been the reason Ghanaians have had a cause to wail and the ghost of that penalty miss against Uruguay will forever haunt him.
The disappointments in the seventeen-year journey aplenty but it does little to negate Gyan’s standing as a legendary figure in Ghana and Africa football.
He has been a great ambassador for the country but nothing great lasts forever.
At some point, the difficult decision of leaving the stage to allow for younger and fresher characters, has to be made and Gyan is currently at this stage if he already hasn’t passed it.
The niggling injuries, the dried-up goals, the nomadic stints with Asian and Middle Eastern clubs are enough hint that the mind may probably be willing to soldier on but the body is weak and it is perhaps time to pick up the boots and hang them in one of the rooms of his plush houses but Gyan has simply refused to bow.
The most blatant and perhaps disrespectful cue of how deep his career has faded is how former Ghana coach Kwasi Appiah took the captaincy position from him ahead of the 2019 AFCON and gave it Andre Ayew.
The General captain position was a diplomatic way of saying that you are not really an asset but we can’t tell you in the face so hang around if you want to.
Gyan protested initially but eventually tagged along after an Akufo-Addo intervention but during the tournament, he was handed another sharp reminder of how little he is regarded by handlers of the team now.
When games were crying for goals, a striker of Gyan’s pedigree was comfortably relaxing on the bench.
Maybe the motivation for that tournament was to have another shot at the title but it turned to be an embarrassment of catastrophic proportion as Ghana exited in the second round for the first time since 2008. That period had seen about seven tournaments and Ghana and Gyan made the final four of each edition.
The exit of Kwasi Appiah may have gladdened the heart of Gyan and gave him reasons to be hopeful of a return to the team but on Sunday, Akonnor hammered a final nail in the coffin.
His ceremonial role was scrapped which means in the unlikely event that he returns to the team, he will technically not have a seat at the table of elders.
Instead, he is going to be a spectator to Andre Ayew, Partey and Richard Ofori who in consultation with the coach will make decisions that will affect him and the other players.
The bells of retirement are being sounded to Gyan’s ear now more than ever and he perhaps needs to have an honest assessment of himself and admit that he came to do his part and its time to get off that stage.
He, like Laryea Kingston, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and the others have had careers deserving of at least one AFCON trophy but the truth which has been accepted by everyone bar Gyan is that the trophy search will continue to be elusive. Read Full Story