Asamoah Gyan, who led the Ghana football team to the quarterfinals of 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, feels his presence in NEUFC will boost the team in the forthcoming Indian Super League (ISL) 2019.
Former Ghana captain Gyan has been roped in by NorthEast United Football Club (NEUFC) as a replacement of NEUFC’s top scorer of the last season, Nigerian Bartholomew Ogbeche, who has joined Kerala Blasters.
Ahead of this year’s season which will begin on October 20, Gyan during an interview with Outlook India said, “As a striker, I need to score and that is my job. If I have a bad season, it doesn’t mean that I am a bad player. Obviously, I am here to help the team reach the highest level and score plenty of goals.”
“At the end, it depends on the team’s performances. If I don’t score, and the team does well, my shooting boots don’t matter,” said a determined striker.
Gyan, who has played in three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), said, “We could have become the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals.”
He is also the top African goal scorer in World Cup finals (six goals).
In a long list of FIFA World Cup legends to have graced the Indian football, Gyan is the latest one to enter the field.
Gyan has a vast experience of playing for famous clubs like Sunderland (Premier League), Udinese (Serie A) and UAE’s Al Ain.
The African legendary football hails from Accra in Ghana.
During the interview Gyan said his mother was a headmistress and his father was a businessman.
“It was my elder brother who introduced me to football. He used to leave home, and travel to different cities for matches,” said Gyan.
“When he (brother) used to return, they used to beat him, as he used to go out and then return very late.”
“That time the situation wasn’t good and I was around six-seven years old. But I took his footsteps. He opened the way for me. Because of him, I began to play with other children in my area,” said Gyan.
“I used to just play for fun. Then one day, a person saw us playing, so he decided to form a team. Then we began to play in tournaments and competitions,” Gyan added.
This is Gyan’s first time in India.
“I am adapting here and liking the country too,” he said.
Stating that it’s early to comment on India, Gyan said, “Right now, I am busy training, so it will take some time for me to decide my opinion regarding the country.”
Regarding the NEUFC team, Gyan said, “I have seen some Indian players, who are talented. Puitea (Lalthathanga Khawlhring) has something special. If he puts in more effort, he can be a very good player.”
“Nikhil Kadam is also a very good player. There are lots of good ones, I cannot mention all their names,” he added.
When asked about his World Cup history, Gyan said, “I scored the fastest goal during the 2006 World Cup, in Ghana’s win against Czech Republic. It is a great feeling to see that my name is in the record books.”
“It is not easy to play in a World Cup at the age of 20.”
Gyan, who led Ghana team to the quarterfinals of 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, said, “In the 2010 World Cup, we were knocked out in the quarterfinals in controversial circumstances.”
“The 2014 World Cup was amazing too, and is probably my last appearance in the tournament. I was able to score two goals and become the top African goal scorer in World Cup finals history,” he said.
“Also, being the top scorer for your country (51 goals) is not an easy achievement. Maybe one day, I will be able to tell my kids that it wasn’t easy,” he added.
Regarding Indian football, Gyan said, “India is also improving. It is good to see more foreign players being roped in to strengthen the league. I think if the officials and players put more effort, India can do better.”
NEUFC will play this season’s first game against Bengaluru FC on October 21 at 7.30.
Gyan talked to Outlook India ahead of facing the the Indian football team (Blue Tigers) in Wednesday’s friendly match.