2013 Afcon: The Baby Jet finally takes off as Cape Verde Islands are issued A-tsunami warning

Goal.com Ghana’s Kwesii Asomadu pats captain Asamoah Gyan on the back for leaving his critics with red-faces after eventually scoring to prove them wrong
By Kwesii Asomadu

When Asamoah Gyan finally broke the deadlock, he sent the most easy to decode message back home - “You guys nag and complain too much.”

Before the Cape Verde game, a section of the Ghanaian media and public were of the opinion Gyan should drop to the bench after two games where he had failed to show the form that made him unplayable in the UAE Pro-league. In the world of social media even if you avoid reading newspapers, listening in to radio shows and watching TV, comments and articles do still find a way to reach your doorstep.

Gyan had clearly heard some of these over the top criticism and brought his A game - his Al Ain game. One critic even took Gyan to football court where he laid bare evidence on why the captain of the Black Stars should join the pick-your-nose- competition on the bench. Gyan duly accepted his date in front of the jury bringing along football’s ultimate defence team for a forward - assists and goals. A defence team as potent as the fictional figures of Harvey Specter and Alan Shore. So for 78 minutes Gyan stood in the witness stand and drew nothing but love and sympathy from the jury.

TAKING OFF | Asamoah Gyan proved his critics wrong by scoring against Niger

With a brilliant first touch Gyan controlled a cross from the impressive Albert Adomah and struck home a low drive. Six minutes in and the prosecution were scrambling for their notes, looking for a different angle to direct their cross examination.

The referee too might also undergo a cross examination from Caf after he ruled out a goal by Niger. Fatau
"It was not only Gyan who had a date in front of the jury; Christian Atsu also did and the Porto winger put up his best display"
Dauda had come for a cross but failed to put his antennas on and caught nothing but air. The referee ruled Moussa Maazou had pushed Dauda, hence Kofi Dankwah’s drilled shot did not count. The fairy tale goal of the Ghanaian-born Dankwah could not come. This was Dauda’s second brush with the law at the tournament, lucky again to get the ruling in his favour.

It was not only Gyan who had a date in front of the jury; Christian Atsu also did and the Porto winger put up his best display at the 2013 Nations Cup. After robbing Dankwah  (who probably was not still certain which team he was playing for) he played the ball out wide to Gyan and carried on his run into the box. The Baby Jet’s beautifully weighted pass set Atsu up who calmly slipped the ball into the net.  This was the first real glimpses of the A-tsunami which has threatened to take over South Africa.

From that point on it was all Ghana.  Kwadwo Asamoah released from the shackles of playing left-back had a commanding performance. He and Atsu were repeatedly fouled. Isaac Vorsah and John Boye dealt with everything a very physical Niger threw at them. John Paintsil also had another solid performance and even turned back the hands of time with a couple of step-overs in the dying minutes of the game.

Rabiu Mohammed had another good game in the Annan role. He kept cleaning up and recycling the ball. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu stung the palms of Kassaly with a fierce drive. After the average performances of the first two games this was the Black Stars sending a signal of intent to all of Africa.

Four minutes into the second half and game ended as a contest. A brilliant Asamoah free kick was met at the far post by a Gyan header. Kassaly saved it on the goal-line but John Boye triggering his Inzaghi-senses was on hand to tap in the rebound. That was the Black Stars six different goal scorers at the tournament and the fifth goal Gyan had a hand in.

“As I said earlier I like to play for the team. As a striker definitely people will be expecting me to score, but my ambition is to help the team to win. I try to create chances for my colleagues to score and I said to myself that the right time will come for me to score and the right time came,” Gyan said after the game.

Later on in the game Gyan passed up two good chances to add to his tally. Two chances to close in on Abedi Pele’s all-time top goal scorer record. The rapturous reception that greeted Gyan’s substitution was one to signal he had won his battle in court. He had convinced the jury why he should be one of the first names on the starting line-up.

While Atsu picked up the official man of the match award, Asamoah Gyan picked up the unofficial man of the moment award. This was a much better performance from the Black Stars albeit Niger hardly fought back  A date with Cape Verde in the quarter finals has been booked. Asamoah Gyan came out victorious from this court section but as most of his Black Stars career has panned out, another day in front of the jury might not be far off.

Hopefully when he does turn up again in front of the jury he would be sitting on the prosecutor’s desk with a gold medal and a trophy as his team of lawyers.