For many years in the 2000s, the Ghana national team had no issues scoring goals, as they had all the qualities they needed in the person of Asamoah Gyan.
Popped unto the scene as a teenager, Gyan knew all that was needed in order to make the No.9 role his own at the national team. Pace, skill, brilliance and movement – these were qualities the then Liberty Professional’s striker possessed in his early days.
The ‘Baby Jet’, as many know him to be, made his debut for Black Stars on November 19, 2003 while he was just age 17 and 11 months old under the tutelage of then head coach Ralf Zumdick.
Gyan would then go on to add 106 appearances to his debut, scoring 51 goals during that time. His goal tally sees him hold the record for the most goals scored for the Black Stars, a record that could take some good years for the current, active, next in line to break.
Even in his elements, players like Raphael Dwamena, Kwesi Appiah, Abdul Majeed Waris, Caleb Ekuban, and Jordan Ayew have all tried to battle the goal poacher for a spot in the national team but none have come to the closest thing Gyan was for the team.
Prior to these names, players like Matthew Amoah, Prince Tagoe, Opoku Agyemang, and Ishmael Addo despite the incredible talent in their possession failed to dethrone Gyan from the lone striking role.
Dwamena made an impressive introduction into the Black Stars team after making his debut in June 2017. The forward scored twice against Ethiopia on his national team debut and looked to have gained the needed attention from Ghanaians but that was all he could manage for the team as his chances were limited due to persistent health issues.
Kwesi Appiah also came into the frame in an attempt to also work his way into the Stars set-up but that plan was also not as good as the one that the football fraternity desired for. A cruciate ligament rupture later on all but closed the chapter for him in the Black Stars jersey though he still continues to knock on the door.
Another player who tried as much as possible is the hungry Abdul Majeed Waris, who first donned the national team jersey in March 2012. The forward was determined, hard-working, and looked to have found for himself a great opportunity to partner Gyan but a dip in performance for his club side meant Ghana moved him on.
Caleb Ekuman has also had some decent chances to impress in the role as the Black Stars main striker but no matter how he has tried, that position is always going to be far from his reach. Ekuban already has three goals in nine appearances for Ghana and he will be looking to that tally should he receive the call once again from coach Akonnor.
It all looks to be working in the favor of Jordan now, following Gyan’s absence in the Black Stars squad for some time now but his recent performances and his new role at Crystal Palace could force coach Charles Kwablan Akonnor to be on the search for a ‘typical No.9’ rather than stick to the son of the legendary Abedi Ayew Pele.
During the latter stages of the 2020/21 English Premier League, Jordan was played out mostly on the wings by then-boss Roy Hodgson, who saw the player as more of a creator than just a goal scorer. That looks to be the case for new gaffer Patrick Vieira, who has deployed the Ghanaian on the wings in the two games he has featured in the league.
While it may be a new opportunity for Jordan at club side, it definitely would be a call for concern for C.K Akonnor ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers as well as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Cameroon.
Many have called for an Asamoah Gyan-type of striker for the national team, an opinion we all at one point will come to agree considering what a player of such quality would bring to the team, filled with a rich vein of quality. Some others, including SWAG president Kwabena Yeboah and former Black Stars midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu have also suggested Gyan is considered for the upcoming tournament as well as qualifiers.
Thankfully for C.K, there are a lot of arsenals he can fall on if he decides against bringing back the prolific goal-getter. Kwame Poku, Joseph Esso and Black Stars newbie Kelvin Yeboah are all starting to bang in the goals for their respective clubs and maybe considering options that the gaffer could keep an eye on as long-term replacements for Ghana’s all-time top-scorer.
Whatever the case be, it is necessary now, more than ever for the Black Stars to find a solution to the striking issues and to get the right person to fill in the void left behind by the legendary Asamoah Gyan.