Love for Asamoah Gyan from the sacred city of Mecca
Love for Asamoah Gyan from the sacred city of Mecca

Love for Asamoah Gyan from the sacred city of Mecca

It is now common for me to be bombarded with names of famous Ghanaian footballers whenever I disclose my nationality.


The Maestro, Abedi Pele, is undoubtedly the most famous Ghanaian sportsman globally, among the older generation of football fans, and his name often comes up, upon mentioning you are a Ghanaian, anywhere in the world. 

But for both the old and young generations of football fans around the world, the name Asamoah Gyan, and other contemporary stars, are most recognisable.

Last year, I shared a story of how a taxi driver, taking me from Mecca to Jeddah, was on cloud nine and waved off a percentage of the fare, upon discovering my nationality and also finding out I knew his idol, Michael Essien, after showing him  a picture of Essien and I!

This year, it's been the turn of Asamoah Gyan, the man who prefers to be called Baby Jet. The love for Asamoah Gyan, here in Mecca, has been amazing! 

Gyan is well known and appreciated here, and almost every taxi I pick, the driver mentions Asamoah Gyan as soon as I mention my nationality. 

But last night was on another level.

I met a young man, who surely, must be Asamoah Gyan's biggest fan in the city of Makkah! Something interesting happened. 

Here it is! 

I walked into a perfume shop, right on the premises of Masjid Al Haram, the Sacred Mosque. After completing my transaction, the young shop attendant asked, "which country from you?" 
"Ghana', I replied, proudly.

"Oh Ghana, Asamoah Gyan, Asamoah Gyan," screamed the shop attendant in excitement. 

"Do you like Asamoah Gyan," I asked him, and he enthusiastically responded, "yes!" and prceeded to show me pictures and videos of Asamoah he had taken himself, during a match Asamoah Gyan played in Saudi, with his then UAE team Al Ain, against Saudi's Ahly. 

Realising how the shop attendant idolised Asamoah Gyan, I planned a big surprise for him! I brought out my phone and teld him I'm calling Asamoah Gyan for him.

"Oooh do you know Asamoah Gyan," he asked me with absolute disbelief and excitement on his face.

"Yes I know him," I responded confidently. 

At that moment, it was nearly 2am in Saudi (shops are more active at night than day in Saudi) and with Ghana 3 hours behind, it was nearly 11 pm back home in Ghana. I was not really comfortable calling the Baby Jet at such an odd hour. 

First dial on WhatsApp, no response!

Second dial, no response, and third dial, still no response! At this stage, both the guy and myself looked dejected, and I wondered whether the guy thought I was only bragging. Nonetheless, knowing Asamoah Gyan, I assured him Gyan would call back if he was not asleep. 

Truly, within seconds, my phone rang and it was the Baby Jet! I picked and screamed his name so proudly. I told him where I was and why I called! I then sought his permission to switch the call to video so his loyal fan could see him.

Gyan agreed, but he asked me to give him a minute to wear something as he was not properly dressed.

Within 2 minutes, Asamoah Gyan called back on video and here he was live, speaking to Ali, his Saudi fan. The Baby Jet spent some time on the phone with the shop attendant, who played back Gyan's video he captured, to Gyan himself. 

You can just imagine how excited the guy was after the call. He was on cloud nine! He hugged me! And he kept screaming Gyan's name, even after the call. For my reward, for letting him speak to his idol live on phone, he gave me a gift. 

The whole thing reaffirmed my belief in one thing; that sour football heroes are our country's greatest ambassadors internationally. However, it is sad and shocking how, back home, some Ghanaians do not appreciate our legends! They are locally lampooned but globally revered and idolised. 

Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's highest international goal scorer, and Africa's highest goal scorer at the FIFA World Cup, is a true legend, who ought to be appreciated. Like the other legends we have, he is an iconic ambassador of our country outside Ghana, and in the past weeks here in Saudi Arabia, I have been a witness, with the climax being last night.


Thank you Asamoah Gyan, for your kindness and humility, in calling back, and agreeing to speak to Ali on video at such an odd hour.

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