Misfiring Al Ahli striker ‘trying to look sharper and get back to my old Asamoah Gyan’

Asamoah Gyan says he is determined to end his injury nightmare and prove at Al Ahli that he remains an elite-level striker.

Asamoah Gyan, second left, of Al Ahli celebrates a goal during the Arabian Gulf Cup football match between Al Shabab and Al Ahli at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai. 29 September 2016. Photo Courtesy: Arabian Gulf League
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DUBAI // Asamoah Gyan says he is determined to end his injury nightmare and prove at Al Ahli that he remains an elite-level striker.

The Ghana captain, currently on a season-long loan from China’s Shanghai SIPG, has endured a difficult time since returning to the UAE last August.

A series of niggling injuries has restricted Gyan, 31, to only eight starts for the Arabian Gulf League champions in all competitions, with a further seven appearances coming as a substitute – a record not helped by his Africa Cup of Nations commitments earlier this year.

Gyan has scored six goals thus far, a disappointing return given that he found the net 128 times during four trophy-laden years at Al Ain between 2011 and 2015.


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The lack of form and fitness has attracted criticism from Ahli’s fans and sections of the media, but Gyan insists he is focused solely on putting together a prolonged run of matches. Should he achieve that, he remains confident the goals will come.

“It happens,” Gyan said. “Sometimes when things go wrong, people will talk, when things go right people will talk. I’ve been in this game for almost 15 years so I know how it works. It doesn’t affect me at all. I’m trying to fight with myself because a fit Asamoah Gyan knows what he can do on the pitch.

“I’ve been in very difficult situation in the past nine months, but I’m still trying to make sure I get back to my normal fitness. Definitely I’m going to get it. I don’t predict, but I believe I’m going to get there.

“What is important is that I’m on the pitch. When I’m playing there are many opportunities: I can head, I can shoot, I’m blessed to have this kind of quality. When I’m on the pitch I know what I can do. The most important thing is to stay fit. That is what I’m praying for every time.”

Gyan suffered another injury setback last week, when he lasted 24 minutes of the Asian Champions League group match against Lokomotiv in Uzbekistan. There, he twisted his ankle, but recovered in time to play a part, as substitute, in Ahli’s crucial 2-1 victory against leaders Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf League on Saturday. In fact, it was Gyan’s mis-hit shot that set up Everton Ribeiro for the winner.

“Yeah, it’s very frustrating,” he said. “And sometimes I see some criticism here and there, but they don’t know what is going on. People say things that they don’t normally have to say. I try to sacrifice myself.

“Even [against Jazira] I was playing with pain, but nobody knew. It’s one of those things. I have to just get back to my scoring form. Even sometimes when you don’t play and when you score it changes everything as a striker. So I’m just trying to look sharper and get back to my old Asamoah Gyan.”

Asked if he believes he has time to do that this season, Gyan replied: “Definitely, because I have two and a half months to go. I’m just praying to God that I can stay fit. It’s been difficult for me, I haven’t had a pre-season camp with the team for a long time and I think this is what I’m lacking right now. But from next season I’m going to go for pre-season and prepare well for my body to stay active.”

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