Sports News of Monday, 26 January 2015
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan is not yet over a bout of malaria but a dramatic last-gasp goal after he got out of his sick bed has revived his country’s hopes at the African Nations Cup.
“It’s a really bad disease, it really takes everything out of you. I still feel weak and I was in hospital last week and missed our first game,” Gyan said on Saturday.
He was speaking the day after his stoppage time winner in Mongomo gave Ghana a much needed 1-0 victory over Algeria in Group C and put them right back in contention for a quarterfinal place at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
“Although I was not fit for the game, the players said they needed me and had confidence in me. I said to myself I had to sacrifice something for the team,” he said in an interview.
Gyan’s remarkable burst of pace took him past defender Carl Medjani before he swept the ball across the keeper into the net to secure a vital win after Ghana lost in similar circumstances to Senegal in their opening group match last Monday.
“It’s one of the most important goals in my career at international level. It was important for the team and it was important for me personally. What a great feeling,” he said.
“I could see it coming. I scored a similar one at the 2010 World Cup against the US in extra time in Rustenburg but this time it was on the right and last time on the left.”
Gyan, who missed a penalty at the 2010 World Cup that would have seen Ghana become the first African side to reach the semifinals, received fulsome praise from new coach Avram Grant who called him one of the best players he had ever worked with.
“It’s very inspirational coming from a coach who has handled big teams and players like he has. His words add energy, I really appreciate that,” Gyan said of Grant, who has been in charge of Israel and several club sides including Chelsea.
“Most important now for me is to sleep and try and shake this,” added Gyan, who is unlikely to miss their final group match against South Africa in Mongomo on Tuesday with both sides needing a win to have any chance of staying in the tournament.