Asamoah Gyan: The Sunderland cult hero turned singer, entrepreneur and tennis player

Casual spectators of the Africa Cup of Nations may have seen Ghana’s humiliating early exit at the hands of the Comoros and thought: “Hmm, they could really play with Asamoah Gyan up front. I wonder what he’s been up to.”

The answer? Just about everything.

Gyan has his finger in just about every pie in Ghana, with multiple businesses from boxing promotion and gas stations to drinking water and instant noodles.

His most recent passion project was the promotion of tennis in Ghana, his company Baby-Jet Promotions sponsors multiple events and tournaments across the country.

He said in September 2020: “Ghanese people do not follow tennis as they did before. I appeal to the media to give tennis some attention.

“Football is the number 1 sport and we respect that. But tennis is my second love, so this is what I do now.”

His new life on the tennis court got off to a rocky start when he was forced to apologize after he and his brother Baffour Gyan attacked an opponent during an exhibition match in October 2020.

However, he remains involved in the sport in Ghana and even won a doubles tournament in December last year with his brother, also a former international footballer.

He also tried to start his own airline, Baby-Jet Airlines, but the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that his flight plans have yet to get off the ground.

Perhaps the striker’s best-known extracurricular activity is his music career.

He recorded three albums with hiplife musician Castro and the single “African Girls”, released at the peak of his career in August 2010, was a hit.

You can listen to the song below and it’s worth it – it’s a bop.

Now 36, Gyan has not played since last summer when he left Ghanaian club Legon Cities after failing to score in five league games.

In August, however, he insisted he wasn’t done with the game.

“I haven’t stopped playing football yet. There were some injuries last season, but I’m not done playing football yet,” he said in an interview with Kessben FM.

“I may wake up one day and announce that I am going to retire from football, but right now I am active.

“People will criticize me, but I just hope to get back to my normal shape and weight. If I’m not able to get my shape back, I’ll blow it off.

“I returned to Legon Cities and you could clearly see that things didn’t go as planned, because I’ve gained weight, but I’m giving myself one more season and I’m confident I’ll be back in shape.

“And when I’m in shape I don’t think I’ll be overlooked. So as far as retirement goes, not now.”

The ability to invest so broadly comes from Gyan’s playing career, which saw him spread his profession across Europe and Asia, scoring goals for every club that could guarantee a significant salary at the end of the week.

He joined Udinese as a teenager from Ghanaian club Liberty Professionals and after settling in Europe first in Serie A and then Ligue 1 with Rennes, he was picked up by Sunderland for a club record £13 million ($17) .7 million) on the last day of the 2010 summer transfer window, thanks in no small part to his performances at the World Cup in South Africa.

Gyan scored two crucial penalties in the group stage to help his country qualify for the knockout stage, then went on to become the winner of extra time in the game of 16 against the United States.

In the quarter – final , Ghana looked set to become the first African side ever to reach the semi – finals of the World Cup when Gyan got one last gasp against Uruguay – given after Luis Suarez deliberately played the ball on the goal line .

However, he hit the bar with his spot kick, and the Black Stars were then beaten in a shootout.

Gyan only spent one season at Wearside, but he remains a cult hero for his habit of scoring important goals, including an equalizer in the 94th minute against local rivals Newcastle United.

He scored 11 goals in all competitions for Sunderland, but left in 2011, leaving in 2011 when Al-Ain of the UAE offered him a loan – later made permanent – ​​worth reportedly £162,000 a week ($220,000).

Gyan scored 123 goals in as many appearances for Al-Ain before joining Shanghai SIPG at the height of the Super League’s ambitious recruiting of foreign stars.

He is estimated to have earned £23.6 million ($32.1 million) during his two years in China, which equated to just under £3 million per strike (eight goals in 26 games).

Stints in the UAE (Al Ahli), Turkey (Kayserispor) and India North East United were also well rewarded, allowing Gyan to focus on his other interests.

This makes it likely, despite his protests, that his days of taking football seriously are long gone.

Instead of appearing on the field, Gyan has worked as an expert for Supersport TV during the Africa Cup of Nations. He remains one of the most notable names from the golden age of Ghanaian football.

A story that he on his . placed Instagram The page of a friend who was given a £95 (£130) briefcase for free because the seller was a fan of Sunderland illustrates just how big of a star the forward was in his heyday, and how much of an influence he continues to exert on the African game and beyond.

So, what has Asamoah Gyan been up to lately? Everything, everywhere and all at once.

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