Asamoah Gyan helped Sunderland to a share of the points with Wigan at the weekend as he scored on his "perfect debut."
The goal made him an instant hit on Wearside with the Black Cats' vocal support. It did not do him any harm with his teammates either.
However, he had already made his way into their hearts after Darren Bent asked him to sing for the team on the eve of the match. A little known fact about the powerful Ghanaian striker is that he has also produced a number of rap songs under the pseudonym of Baby Jet.
As Ghana geared up for the World Cup, Gyan teamed up with the 50 Cent of Ghana, Castro De Destroyer, to record African Girls. A rap song infused with Afro-Caribbean style themes and Western African beats, the catchy number has gone down a bomb on YouTube since the World Cup, where interest in the striker grew to massive levels after an impressive tournament.
Gyan has been one of Ghana's best kept secrets since making his debut for the Black Stars in 2004, and has provided 22 goals in 44 games for his nation.
During the World Cup in South Africa he went on to earn all the accolades he deserved after Ghana proved to be the only African side capable of challenging the dominance of Europe and South America. He scored a late winner against Serbia in the opening game of the tournament and left the pitch to a standing ovation and thousands of journalists scratching their heads after the little known Rennes striker stole all the plaudits for many better known players.
A second goal in two games, this time against Australia, and all of a sudden Ghana was on the verge of becoming the only African nation to progress out of the groups. The Black Stars then beat the USA in the round of 16 after an epic confrontation was settled in extra time by Gyan again.
All of a sudden, Ghana was in the Quarterfinals, where Uruguay was waiting.
The game proved to be the biggest draw of the Quarter Finals as 84,000 packed into Soccer City to see one of the most intriguing matches of the tournament. A 1-1 draw after 90 minutes forced the game into extra-time, where the Ghanaians' fitness seemed to give them an edge.
As the clock counted down to the final whistle Ghana won a penalty after Luis Suarez handled a certain goal on the line. The Black Stars hero of the tournament, Gyan, stepped up to take the most pressurised spot-kick in African football history and missed, sending the game into the lottery of penalties.
Credit where it's due, Gyan took his country's first penalty when it would have been easy to say no and scored with aplomb. Unfortunately, Uruguay won 4-2 and progressed to the semifinals.
From a personal point of view, the penalty miss cut very deeply for Gyan, but his strength of character and phenomenal form during the tournament caught the eye of scouts all over Europe and on deadline day Steve Bruce parted with £13 million to that the Black Star striker to the Black Cats.
It was a real coup for Sunderland. Gyan was linked with Manchester United, AC Milan, and Arsenal back in 2007, and his style of play seems perfectly suited to both the Black Cats and the Premier League in general.
Gyan's training routine with his new club was interrupted by the international window, and he only managed to train with his new team twice in 15 days since signing.
It didn't curb his confidence though, and he gave the Black Cats crowd exactly what they came to see after he latched onto Jordan Henderson's superb cross to score a goal reminiscent of Johan Cryuff in his heyday.
Although tired, he still managed a trademark dance for his new fans.
“I did a couple of dances," Gyan said, "but I was really tired, so I didn’t want to continue. I didn’t sing though. Not this time. I did sing for them before the match, Darren Bent asked me to. It was a song by Buju Banton, a Jamaican reggae singer. If you’re a new player in the team you have to sing to everybody. I was good. Of course they thought I was good; they were happy with it. They’ve seen my musical videos, so they know I can do it.”
If Gyan can live up to his growing reputation, everyone will know he can do it.
This article was previously featured on Tiger Beer Football, where Willie Gannon is the featured Blogger, over 18s only.
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