Ghana star Asamoah Gyan joins ISL team NorthEast United FC
NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) announced on Thursday that striker Asamoah Gyan, Ghana’s all-time leading goalscorer with 51 strikes in 107 internationals, will play for them in ISL6 beginning on October 20.
Gyan, 33, played three World Cup finals (2006, 2010 and 2014) scoring six goals, the maximum by an African. Three of them came in the 2010 World Cup when Ghana lost to Uruguay in the quarter-final; Gyan missing a late penalty. Gyan played for Udinese, Rennes and Sunderland as well as Al Ain in the UAE and Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League.
Gyan is likely to join coach Robert Jarni’s training in Guwahati this week, said an NEUFC official.
He would be expected to replace Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche who scored 12 goals in ISL5 as NEUFC qualified for the semi-finals for the first time. Ogbeche has joined Kerala Blasters along with NEUFC’s coach last term, Eelco Schattorie.
Being in this year’s African Cup of Nations—he has played in eight editions since 2006—and in the Turkish Super Lig last season makes Gyan one of the ISL’s biggest signings. The closest player would be defender Aaron Hughes who joined Kerala Blasters in 2016 after representing Northern Ireland in the European championships that year. Hughes was 37 and came from Australia’s A-League.
Former Brazil international Elano, who played two seasons for twice champions Chennaiyin FC, was also 33 when he came to India in 2014. The Brazilian attacking midfielder though hadn’t added to his 50 international caps since 2011.
Long list of stars
Gyan joins when the league lasts six months as opposed to three when Elano, Hughes, Florent Malouda, Robert Pires, Luis Garcia, Roberto Carlos and Alessandro del Piero, among others, represented different ISL teams.
Gyan’s passage to India happens when ISL franchises are moving away from marquee signings to cut costs. A free player, there were reports last December that Gyan was going through a difficult divorce and had filed for bankruptcy. Gyan has denied reports that he filed for bankruptcy.
“I am extremely excited to start this new chapter in my career,” said Gyan in a media release. “I have heard great things about NorthEast United FC and the Indian Super League and I am thrilled to be a part of it for the upcoming season. I am confident that we can better the wonderful season the club had last year.”