The Ghanaian had a comparatively short spell in the Indian Super League.
After having arrived to incredible fanfare and an unmissable buzz, the first season of Asamoah Gyan in the Indian Super League has been cut short due to injury. Robert Jarni made it clear in the post-match press conference following their defeat against FC Goa that the Ghanaian would most certainly miss the remainder of the campaign.
Accordingly, the Highlanders are looking to bring in a couple of new players to fill the gaping vacuum prevalent after Gyan’s departure. Whatever the prospects for the club would be, considering they are languishing at the penultimate position currently, Gyan’s short-lived career in Indian football needs to be assessed objectively.
The ISL has been known to throw some prominent overseas players into the mix ahead of every season and the same was visible through the arrival of Asamoah Gyan to NorthEast United. For a club that had managed to finish in the playoffs in the previous season, the arrival of such a pedigreed striker was supposed to act as a stimulus to further strengthen their hopes of bettering the performances from the previous campaign.
At The End Of A Myriad Of Expecatations
Obviously, NorthEast United lost their fair share of personalities who had propelled them to their impressive outing last season. Nevertheless, whatever happens in the transfer window, any club that had a soaring run like they did in Eelco Schattorie’s tenure, would have hoped for a similar outcome this time around too. Add to this, an internationally well-renowned icon like Asamoah Gyan agreeing to join them, the Highlanders’ hopes were high for a strong campaign.
Big players arrive with similarly big expectations. Apart from possessing the character that can uplift the entire team, with their sheer approach and ability they are also expected to deliver consistently on the pitch. Asamoah Gyan, evidently seemed to be someone who would be primarily relied upon to shoulder the goalscoring burden for the Highlanders. In that respect, it needs to be noted that he fared fairly well. With four goals in eight matches, he might not have set the world alight, but has left little room for complaint.
His adaptation to the pace and dynamics of the league didn’t take much time. In the second game against Odisha FC itself, Asamoah Gyan notched the winning goal in the 84th minute, which also marked the side’s first of only two victories in the season until now. In fact, he went on to capitalize on that momentum with a further two goals in the next three matches. That was an exceptionally positive start to the campaign.
However, the troubles seemed to begin from when NEUFC faced a humiliating 3-0 loss against ATK in the first week of December. Asamoah Gyan had to be brought off the field in the 9th minute due to a knock and missed the match against Bengaluru FC. However, he made a return in the 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters, converting a spot-kick to level the scores.
Where Did It Go Off-Track?
However, the troubles with his fitness continued to persist and eventually a call was made in public by Robert Jarni regarding his apprehensions over Gyan’s issues. The possibility has to be taken into consideration that at 34 years of age, he probably ran out of steam in the punishing league. Surely, he did not lose his touch, neither the guile or ability that had ensured he made such a credible start to the campaign. One factor could also be NorthEast United’s lack of squad depth, to provide adequate cover for Asamoah Gyan during the course of the season.
Jarni’s team have had an apt gap of almost five days or more between each match, excluding the international break. However, being on the wrong side of 30, the alien weather conditions could also have been tough to adapt to for the Ghanaian, added to the regular and distant travel between games. As the reasons behind his injury are as yet unknown, it is difficult to fully analyze the relatively short span of time that he spent playing for the club.
Whether his stint with NEUFC was a success or not? Well, he has presented too short a sample size to pass a concrete opinion on that. Not having played even half of the season and being sidelined due to injury even during that period, it wouldn’t be appropriate to stamp a verdict upon him.
However, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to claim that Asamoah Gyan certainly demonstrated some brilliant traits and would have piled up the goals, if he had been fit to play the entire campaign. He showed strong signs of ending up as one of the best forwards in the league this season and if NEUFC manage to hold onto him for another campaign, the Ghanaian could still prove an asset to have on the roster.