When Ghana announced that Asamoah Gyan had contracted malaria on the eve of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, fans of the Black Stars were understandably discouraged.
The striker who plays in the UAE Pro League was forced to watch his side’s opening 2-1 loss to Senegal from the sidelines.
But the Ghanian captain silenced his doubters and elated fans Friday, scoring a scorcher of a goal against Algeria, keeping Ghana’s hopes for advancing alive.
The win stunned Algeria, who are the top ranked Africa team in the FIFA rankings, and the team mainly believe will ultimately raise the AFCON 2015 trophy.
The match was scoreless into extra time, with many expecting yet another tie that would give Algeria the advantage going into a final match against Senegal.
But in the 91st minute, Gyan collected a pass on the right corner of the Algerian box from Mubarak Wakaso, and sent it shooting into the bottom left corner.
Avram Grant, the former Chelsea, West Ham and Portsmouth coach, who now runs the Black Stars, had only superlatives for Gyan, according to the BBC:
“Asamoah Gyan was not fit – he didn’t train like he needed to – but he’s Asamoah Gyan, if you look at the stats and his behaviour in the dressing room.
“You know I have been coach of some of the great players – he’s one of the greatest. First – he always scores when you need him. Second – he’s good for the spirit of the team – he’s a very good captain.”
In other Group C action, South Africa scored early in the second half, but couldn’t hold off Senegal, as the rivals tied at 1, putting Senegal at the top of the group table.