Asamoah Gyan: Ghana captain praised by Avram Grant

By Matthew KenyonBBC World Service, Mongomo
Asamoah Gyan and Avram Grant
Asamoah Gyan and Avram Grant

Ghana coach Avram Grant says Asamoah Gyan is "one of the greatest players" he has ever worked with.

Grant watched as Gyan kick-started Ghana's Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a last-gasp winner against Algeria on Friday.

Gyan's goal lit up what had been a dire contest on a bobbly surface in Mongomo.

"I have coached some of the great players - and he's one of the greatest," said the former Chelsea boss.

The former Israel, Portsmouth and West Ham boss managed Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba, former Germany midfielder Michael Ballack and England's Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.

Grant revealed after the game that his talismanic skipper, who plays for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, had been far from fit coming into the match - having suffered from malaria.

He said: "Asamoah Gyan was not fit - he didn't train like he needed to - but he's Asamoah Gyan.

"First - he always scores when you need him, and he's good for the spirit of the team; he's a very good captain."

Grant's praise was echoed by Ghana's Everton winger Christian Atsu - who reiterated Gyan's importance to the team.

"We always believe in him - any time he's in the game we have the confidence to play," said Atsu.

Gyan has now scored for Ghana in each of the 10 major tournaments he has played in since the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations - and has scored in his last six games for his country.

His strike against the Desert Foxes saw him equal Osei Kofi's all-time Ghana record of seven Africa Cup of Nations goals.