Football: Ghana President forces Asamoah Gyan out of 24-hour retirement for Africa Cup of Nations

Asamoah Gyan (left) was personally contacted by Ghana's President and will now play in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Asamoah Gyan (left) was personally contacted by Ghana's President and will now play in the Africa Cup of Nations.PHOTO: REUTERS

(THE GUARDIAN) - Asamoah Gyan has made a rapid U-turn on his decision to retire from Ghana duty and will now play at the Africa Cup of Nations, after being told by the nation's President that it is "in the national interest" that he reconsiders.

"A presidential request is one that cannot be disregarded," said the former Sunderland striker in a statement. "I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah to help win the Afcon trophy."

Gyan turned his back on the team only 24 hours earlier after reportedly being dropped as captain but Mr Akufo-Addo was concerned that Gyan's decision had caused such uproar among the Ghanaian public that he personally contacted the striker and used his influence to change his mind.

"President Akufo-Addo spoke on the telephone with Asamoah Gyan, and informed him of the considerable national disquiet over his decision to retire from the Black Stars," the spokesman for the president, Eugene Arhin, said in a statement.

"The President urged him, in the national interest, to rescind his decision to retire from the Black Stars, and make himself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah."

Having said on Tuesday (May 21) he was retiring to avoid fuelling "the purported undermining the country has seen under my captaincy", Gyan's love for the national team appears to have been rekindled after Akufo-Addo's telephone call.

"My desire to help Ghana end the over three-decade long wait to annex the Afcon trophy still burns strong, and I remain committed to serving this great nation and the people of Ghana," said the 33-year-old.

Gyan, who played in three World Cups, is Ghana's record scorer with 51 goals in 106 appearances and currently plays for Kayserispor in Turkey. It is unclear whether he will still have the captaincy at the Africa Cup of Nations or, as was widely reported in Ghana, it will be handed to André Ayew.