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Exclusive: Q&A With Asamoah Gyan
 
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30-Sep-2011  
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Asamoah Gyan signing his one-year loan deal with Al Ain
 
 
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Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has spoken exclusively to MTNFootball.com about his move to the UAE side Al Ain.

The Sunderland player sealed a world record £6m loan deal from the English side at the start of this month which has generated some controversy.

Gyan answers concerns over his move to the Middle Eastern country when the Premier League competition is higher in profile.

He talks the upcoming final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Ghana and Sudan in Khartoum.

MTNFootball.com: How have you been settling into the life the UAE?

AG: It did not take me long to settle into the life here in the UAE as is has got many similarities with the life in Africa. I have got a very decent place to live and already I am making new friends with my team-mates, club officials, neighbours, African and foreigners living in the UAE. the live here is more family oriented and like in Africa people are keen to welcome you to their homes to offer you tea, food and just be hospitable like the people of Ghana. I am enjoying it and as i expected it is a new experience in my life and this is what I expected.

MTNFootball.com: Surely learning to speak Arabic is a challenge.

AG: Surprisingly, you hardly find the need to speak Arabic here as most people I have met here speak English. There are many foreigners here too and because I speak French and Italian I am able to have good conversion and communication with people here from all backgrounds. Learning Arabic will surely make me a better person and will expand my horizon. Even before I came here the basic words to greet people like ‘As Salamu Alaikum’ I knew already because in my country Ghana there are many Muslims who greet like this and I have many Muslim friends. I have learnt new words like ‘Yalla’ which means ‘let’s go’. (laughs) I hope I can learn more as long as I am here.

MTNFootball.com: Asamoah since you left England for the UAE you might have read some of the reaction to your move. Some say you jumped for the money in the UAE because the competition in the English Premier League offers better competition than the UAE league.

AG: On the face of it that is the conclusion some would reach. On a deeper level the competition in the UAE is tough. I played my first match the other day and saw that they play very good football and the competition is keen. That is the feedback I had and in reality that’s what I have seen here in the UAE. The players here are very good players and are keen to fight in a game. I have played in some different countries and as in every aspect of life it is good to have different experiences. Playing in the UAE is also different experience.

MTNFootball.com: Did you go for the money there?

AG: Asamoah did not just move to the UAE. I did not go to Al Ain to beg them to sign me. I am under contract with Sunderland and as it is with the procedure with the rules of the game, Al Ain approached Sunderland that they want me. Sunderland agreed first before I moved. If they did not agree I couldn’t have moved. If Sunderland were not interested, I couldn’t have moved. So this talk is unfair on me.

MTNFootball.com: But Sunderland coach Steve Bruce seems to be unhappy with your move to Al Ain because he has been critical of your move.

AG: I have read a few stories attributed to Mr. Bruce about my move. I won’t engage in any verbal confrontation with him because he is my father. He has contributed immensely to my career and therefore would want to speak about him publicly. I have access to him and I prefer to peak with him privately. Already there is the notion out there my relationship with Mr Bruce has not been good since the move but that is not true. As I said before I consider him as my father because I will rush to him when I need advice as I have always done with him.

MTNFootball.com: Have you spoken with Mr Bruce since your move?

AG: I have not spoken with him because I am still in the process of settling down here and also there is time difference with England which makes it difficult. I will speak with him soon. I want to state it clear that I have no problems with Mr. Bruce. In fact throughout my career I have not had any problem with any coach let alone the man I consider my father.

MTNFootball.com: There are concerns that your profile as a top player could be affected by this move because the UAE league doesn’t generate much publicity as the Premier League.

AG: There is no doubt that the Premier League has got a huge profile but other leagues are also coming up. Who knows my presence in the UAE league could attract some big interest. In fact all my fans both in England, Ghana and the rest of Africa are now following the UAE league to see how I progress. The Ghanaian media has suddenly been reporting on the UAE league and on my progress extensively. You never know. My profile as a footballer is not only hinged on me playing in the Premier League. The performances for my country at the World Cup have also contributed to my status, my performance at the Africa Cup of Nations has contributed as well as my association with my previous clubs in England, Italy and France have all contributed.

MTNFootball.com: How do you feel about the criticism leveled against you since this move?

AG: As a footballer who many people look up to, I have come to understand that sometimes criticism will come. It is important not to over-react but to be calm and listen to it and if there are good points to take from it I will and if there those just meant not to make me better I ignore them. In 2008 negative criticism nearly drove me out of my own national team because some were not constructive but destructive – upon second thought I said why do I have to quit my national team when it was not the whole country speaking but some individuals? I fought back and continued to serve my country by taking the good points from the criticism and that helped to make me a better that I am today. It made me a stronger person.

MTNFootball.com: One striking story in this saga of your move to the UAE is that of the five-year-old Sunderland supporter Billy Ellison. He had your named printed at the back of the jersey his dad bought for him and few days later you were off to the UAE. His story appeared in the newspapers in the UK and you responded. Why did you do that?

AG: I had to respond by all means. I read his story and it touched me. This shows that Billy loves Sunderland and he loves me. I don’t want to make anyone upset especially a young child who loves me to the point that he wants my name on his jersey. Immediately I read story I quickly asked my people to make contact with him and assure him that I want to make it up to him. I will meet Billy and his parents and host them during the Ghana friendly against Nigeria in London on 11 October.

MTNFootball.com: You will donate some money to the Sunderland Foundation from your wages in the UAE. Your fans in Ghana and Africa are asking why you aren’t doing the same to them because there are many people in need in Africa.

AG: Supporting good causes anywhere in the world is the right thing to do. The Sunderland Foundation is helping people in need in many places so it is right to support the foundation. Sunderland are supporting the football club Kotoko in Ghana so the impact of their work is very diverse. Also to assure my fans in Ghana and Africa that the Asamoah Gyan Foundation will expand its operations with more support for girls to take up to education and generally expand support for the needy as we have done on many occasions on the quiet.

MTNFootball.com: Let’s turn our attention to the Black Stars who must get a result in Sudan to be able to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations automatically. They held you in Kumasi so playing in Khartoum will be tough.

AG: There are no easy games in African football today and Sudan is a very good football country. They were determined that’s why they came to Kumasi and held us to the draw. But just like the way they did to us we can also go to their home grounds and cause a major surprise. We will have to be tough to be able to succeed in that game because they also want to beat us. I think we are capable of winning in Sudan because we did it before we qualified for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations when we beat them at their own stadium. We are going to fight hard to get our tickets and avoid the mathematics of whether we have qualified or not.

MTNFootball.com: The after that game there is the special friendly between Ghana and Nigeria in London. What do you think about the game?

AG: At this moment my full concentration is on Sudan. After Sudan we will deal with Nigeria.
 
 
 
Source: MTNFootball.com
 
 

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