A Ghanaian tradition goes on
Abedi Pele was the first African to win the BBC honors in 1992. Samuel Osei Kufuour made Ghana proud in 2001. Michael Essien continued the tradition. Today, we celebrate with Sunderland’s Asamoah ‘The Baby Jet’ Gyan as football lovers who listen to the BBC have conferred on him, the coveted title of BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2010.
A crown well deserved
Gyan pushed Ghana to the finals of the African Nations Cup 2010 with three important goals. With Gyan as forward, Ghana went past African giants, Ivory Coast and Nigeria as well as host nation Angola into the finals of the Nations cup in January 2010.
With such form, the ‘Baby Jet’ took Ghana to the world cup. His brilliant strike against the United States will go down as one of the most celebrated goals in Africa. Even though he literally took Ghana out with a quarter final penalty miss, the Sunderland forward’s contribution to what will be considered as Ghana’s best football year since 1982 (when Ghana won the Nations Cup) cannot be overemphasized.
At club level, the striker may have started slowly at Sunderland this season, but his potential role in the team has already been settled as he scored on his debute. Already, he has contributed 5 goals with 2 assists to the Black Cats’ course in his 13 appearances, only 2 shy from their most consistent forward Darren Bent.
13 goals out of a total 17 appearances for club and country speaks volumes of Gyan’s performance this year and there is little surprise that today, the dancing forward has been duly recognized.
Now let’s conquer Africa – Yes We Gyan
BBC African Footballer of the year may have nothing to do with who the national team coaches think was the best player of the year. But if truths will be told, among the three shortlisted (Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Asamoah Gyan), Gyan stands tall in terms of national team contribution and competes strongly at club level with the other nominees who all happen to be strikers. Clubwise, Drogba has scored 7 goals out of 17 appearances; Eto’o scored 9 goals out of 13 appearances and Gyan has recorded 5 goals out of 13 appearances.
The records however show that Gyan has been the most efficient among the three in terms of shots attempted and goals scored. 17% of all of Gyans’ shots for Sunderland resulted in a goal. Whenever Eto’s struck at goal this season for Inter Milan, 16% of the time he scored, while Drogba had only 10% of his shots ever resulting into goal.
The evidence cannot be clearer. In 2010, Gyan has delivered the goods for club and country. The BBC African Footballer of the Year 2010 though appreciated, is not enough to recognize the contribution of Gyan to African football this year. He must go on to win the ultimate title of African Player of the Year.
Hopefully, African coaches will take this into consideration when they decide the CAF African Player of the Year!