Gyan: second best African footballer? No chance!

by Charlie Coffey

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
 

The fact that Asamoah Gyan was voted in second place in the voting for the 2010 African Footballer of the year ahead of Didier Drogba in third suggests that the coaches and captains of the 53 nations that make up the Confederation of African Football (CAF) were caught up in the romance of Ghana’s run to the semi-finals of the first World Cup to take place in Africa. Had they used their head and not their hearts they would have seen that Drogba’s achievement of scoring 29 goals in 32 Premier League appearances last season, 17 of which were scored after this point last season, was more impressive than anything Gyan did.

Gyan scored three in the world cup, but two of those were from the penalty spot. When he was trusted with the crucial penalty to send Ghana through to the semi-finals of the tournament at Uruguay’s expense he missed. Of course there was foul play by Luis Suarez that led to the penalty in the first place, and he had the courage to take another in the shoot-out almost straight after, but ultimately he let his country down at the crucial moment.

Drogba, meanwhile, battled on with a fractured arm and scored in open play against Brazil for an Ivory Coast team that was some way behind Ghana in terms of overall strength. It seems that maybe the voters were overly affected by Drogba’s very recent slump in form, despite starting this season as he finished the last, with six goals in his first seven Premier League games and has an overall strike-rate of exactly one in two in the league this season.

Gyan has made a decent start to his Sunderland career, and is no doubt a top striker, but you couldn’t imagine Drogba struggling for places with Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck. Drogba is simply a different class of player who combines the best attributes of all three Sunderland players. His goals won the Premier League for Chelsea last season. Gyan’s record of 13 goals in 29 Ligue 1 games for Rennes last season is clearly no match for Drogba’s, and the Ghanaian is completely unproven in the Champions League.

In the end only the winner, Samuel Eto’o, will be remembered, but the way in which Gyan made second place in the voting process is worrying for the future of the award. Perhaps the captains of the club sides, who are obviously much younger than the coaches and have less experience of world football, are guilty of using emotion in their choice. There is no doubt that Gyan is the more likeable player. He always has a smile on his face, his charisma was pivotal both to Ghana’s World Cup run and their progress to the African Cup of Nations final in 2010, and his dancing celebrations make him a very likeable character.

Drogba, meanwhile, as we all know, is moody, arrogant, guilty of play-acting on occasion and is a player that most fans love to hate. However, he is also a much better footballer than Gyan, and has had a better year, which is all that should really matter.

Read Charlie Coffey’s brilliant blog at my11.com.

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