Ghana's preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have been dealt a blow after Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan announced a shot decision to recuse himself from the tournament and also retire from the national team over fears he may be stripped of the captaincy.
The 33-year-old forward, in a statement on Monday, barely 24 hours to the release of Ghana’s provisional squad by head coach Kwasi Appiah, said that he would not be a member of Ghana's team for the 2019 AFCON, which takes place in Egypt between June 21 and July 19 .
Gyan, who has been a key member of the national team since making his international debut in 2003, suggested that he had a strong conviction that there were attempts being made for him to surrender his captaincy and serve in another role, a development, he said, had left him unhappy.
"Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team for the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament," said the player who plies his trade with Turkish topflight side, Kayserispor.
"I also wish to retire from the national team permanently; not pretending my presence would not fuel the purported undermining the country has seen under my captaincy".
"Through such periods, there were no times substantive captains were part of a team and had to surrender their captaincy to other players and served in different capacities”, he indicated.
Gyan scored on his Ghana debut in 2003
Gyan scored on his Black Stars debut as a 17-year-old in a World Cup qualifier against Somalia in Accra on November 19, 2003 (during the stint of German coach Ralf Zumdick). He retires as Ghana’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals in 106 appearances.
An extraordinary marksman, Gyan has played in six AFCON tourneys -- 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017 -- and is Ghana’s all-time leading Nations Cup goal scorer with seven goals, a record he shares with deputy national captain, Andre Ayew, who is expected to be handed the captain’s armband.
The striker scored Ghana's first and last World Cup goals
He is on record as the man who scored Ghana’s first ever FIFA World Cup goal -- a second minute strike against the Czech Republic at the 2006 tournament in Germany -- and the country’s last World Cup goal, a 57th minute header against Portugal at the 2014 edition in Brazil.
His goal against Portugal at Estádio Nacional de Brasília on June 26, 2014 was historic as the striker who personalised the No. 3 shirt entered the books as Africa's all-time leading scorer in World Cup history with six goals in three tournaments.
Curiously, he goes on record too as the player who broke a continent’s heart when he missed a crucial 90th minute penalty kick against Uruguay at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, denying the team a win and a slice of history as the first African side to reach the last four of the World Cup.
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