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NDC bigwig Koku Anyindoho wants Ghana FA to be investigated after FIFA raid  FIFA.com News

Kwesi Nyantakyi

Kwesi Nyantakyi

A leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress Koku Anyindoho says it is time for government to raid the Ghana Football Association after FIFA came under siege on Wednesday.

Corruption charges in the U.S. were announced against 14 people, with at least two of them holding American citizenship.

Seven of the 14 were arrested in Zurich ahead of a FIFA meeting and Friday’s presidential election in which Sepp Blatter is expected to win a fifth term.

Anyindoho, who is Deputy General Secretary of NDC, says the action by the Swiss police has opened the Ghana FA up for it to be investigated.

“We have all seen what is happening at FIFA, the headquarters of World Football but we also have been here for Nyantakyi to sit on public TV speaking about co-efficient of two and Saani Daara is also going round barking FIFA will do this FIFA will do that so FIFA was made to look like a lion but now that the lion itself has been arrested, where do their fate lie,” Anyidoho told Atinka FM.

“It just tells us the whole world is now getting sick and tired of these whole group of people. Issha Hayatou assemble his people and change the CAF rules and want to become CAF president for life and his agents also all over also coming back to their countries and want to become president for life so the whole thing has become a mafia”.

“If today the FBI, has broken the FIFA headquarters in Zurich and has picked up officials for questioning, I believe that it is the beginning of the cleansing of the football game. We have to take the bull by the horn.”

Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey handed role in opening FIFA U20 World Cup game  FIFA.com News

Joseph Lamptey

Joseph Lamptey

Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey will be serving as the fourth official in one of the opening group games at the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup.

The professional immigration officer will be the reserve substitute for Japanese Sato Ryuji between Uruguay and Serbia on Sunday.

Lamptey has been named as one of the officials for the U20 World Cup having passed a fitness test earlier this year.

He is certain to be appointed a center referee in subsequent games of the tournament being staged in New Zealand.

Ryuji will be assisted on the lines for the game between Uruguay and Serbia by compatriots Yagi Akane and Yamauchi Hisoshi.

Esperance offer Harrison Afful two-year renewal on expiring contract  FIFA.com News

Harrison Afful

Harrison Afful

Esperance have offered Harrison Afful a two-year contract extension as his existing deal with the club nears expiration.

The skillful left-back is in the final year of his contract with the Tunisian giants having been with the club since 2009.

The Ghana international is rumoured to be eyeing a move to Europe and has been linked to clubs in France.

But Esperance have moved quickly to secure his services with an offer of a two-year renewal.

“Management has proposed a two-year contract that would link both parties until June 2017,” an Esperance official revealed.

“It is our belief that the final and definitive answer will not take that long because we also need to make a decision.”

Afful has won four domestic championships with Esperance in his six year stay.

He has also won the CAF Champions League with the Blood and Gold.

 

Ghana defender Rashid Sumaila named in Kuwaiti League Team of the Season  FIFA.com News

Rashid Sumaila

Rashid Sumaila

Ghana defender Rashid Sumaila has been named in the Team of the Season in Kuwait despite his shot-term stint with Al Qadsia.

The 22-year-old who only played the second half of the season in a loan spell from Mamelodi Sundowns was deemed impressive enough to be named in the Best XI of the just ended season.

Sumaila helped Al Qadsia finish 4th in the Kuwaiti league but was also part of the side’s success in the Emir Cup.

He will now be reverting to Sundowns pending further talks over an offer made by Al Qadsia to sign him on a permanent basis.

Kuwait Premier League XI: Hammed Kalaf, Ahmed Ibrahim, Issah Waleed, Rashid Sumaila, Fahd Hagry, Jahra, Keta, Ali Mkseed, Fahd Alenzi, Bader Al Mutawa and Ahmed Ayal.

Charles Allottey curses Hearts over failed promise in 2000  FIFA.com News

Charles Allotey, first from left with Hearts of Oak supporters leader Ken Saro Wiwa, doesn’t look good

Charles Allotey, first from left with Hearts of Oak supporters leader Ken Saro Wiwa, doesn’t look good

Ex midfielder Charles Allottey has cast a spell on Hearts of Oak over the club’s failure to honour its pledge of rewarding players of their 2000 Champions League winning squad with $25,000.

Allottey claims each player of the all-conquering 64 Battalion squad was promised the cash package ahead of their Champions League final against Esperance.

The well-motivated Phobians led be legendary coach Jones Attuquayefio went ahead of beat the Tunisian giants in both legs of the final to clinch the 2000 CAF Champions League title.

Officials however failed to honour their promise of paying $25,000 to each member of the squad.

And Charles Allottey who is currently faced with serious financial challenges has cursed the club for not making good on its promise back in 2000.

“Hearts promised us about $25,000 for the African campaign in 2000 but they didn’t honour this pledge,” he said.

“For this reason it will never be well with Hearts of Oak.”

Hearts look certain to exit the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup at the hands of Esperance following the crashing 4-0 defeat suffered in the first leg encounter.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin accuses U.S. of meddling with FIFA, 2018 World Cup  FIFA.com News

sep vladmirRussian President Vladimir Putin said the United States is meddling in FIFA’s affairs in an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.

Putin said in televised comments Thursday that it is “odd” that the probe was launched at the request of U.S. officials for crimes which do not involve its citizens and did not happen in the United States.”

Two of the 14 people charged by U.S. prosecutors on have U.S. citizenship.

Football’s world governing body was plunged into crisis after a wave of arrests of football officials including two FIFA vice-presidents in Zurich on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and money laundering charges following an FBI investigation.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 people for alleged bribes totalling more than $150 million (£98 million) they say had been paid for television rights, sponsorship deals and World Cup votes.

The charges allege there has been widespread corruption throughout football’s governing body over the past 20 years, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals.

 

In a separate probe, Swiss prosecutors are investigating the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Officials seized documents and electronic data from FIFA’s headquarters and will question 10 current FIFA executive committee members who voted on that tournament.

Putin described Wednesday’s pre-dawn arrests of seven football officials in Zurich as “yet another evident attempt to derail Mr. Blatter’s reelection as FIFA president.”

Putin added he is aware of “the pressure” on FIFA president Sepp Blatter for his support of Russia hosting the World Cup.

Blatter chaired an emergency meeting with continental football bodies on Thursday while staying out of public view himself.

“There was a meeting today with the president with the representatives from the confederations to discuss the current situation,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said in a statement.

Blatter did not attend Thursday’s FIFA medical conference in Zurich nor was he expected to attend the meeting of UEFA’s member association heads, a FIFA spokesman said.

The crisis led UEFA to call for Friday’s FIFA presidential election to be postponed and the European body questioned whether its 53 voting associations should even attend the Congress.

UEFA’s statement has intensified the pressure on Blatter, but the world governing body said the election will take place as planned.

 

Ghana winger Frank Acheampong latest to pull out of Olympic Games qualifier against Congo  FIFA.com News

Frank Acheampong

Frank Acheampong

Ghana Under-23 team has been dealt another blow ahead of the reverse fixture of the 2016 Olympic Games qualifier against Congo after Frank Acheampong ruled himself out of the clash.  

The Anderlecht winger was hugely tipped to make the squad for the Congo trip but is reported to have informed coach Malik Jabir of his unavailability for the clash.

Acheampong joins Abdul Baba Rahman who has pulled the plugs on his involvement, leaving the Ghanaian trainer with England-based Ebo Andoh his only foreign-based player left in the squad.

EXCLUSIVE: Baba Rahman turns down request to play for Ghana’s Olympic team ahead of Congo showdown  FIFA.com News

Baba Rahman

Baba Rahman

Ghana defender Abdul Baba Rahman has turned down a request to play for the country’s Under-23 team ahead of the reverse fixture of the 2016 Olympic Games qualifier against Congo Brazzaville on Sunday, GHANAsoccernet.com can reveal.

Rahman, who plays for German outfit Augsburg, was being courted to augment the squad ahead of the crucial return leg following the side’s unconvincing 1-0 win in the first leg.

But the 20-year-old, who is currently in the country to take a well deserved off season break has turned down the request, GHANAsoccernet.com understands.

The former Asante Kotoko left back wants to concentrate on his duties with the Black Stars with a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations opening qualifier against Mauritius on June 14 looming.

The Chelsea target will thus not be part of Ghana’s traveling party to Brazzaville for the crucial game.

Coach Malik Jabir could however counts on  winger Frank Acheampong who has expressed his readiness to play for the country’s Olympic team.

The Anderlecht man is expected to join his colleagues in the country on Thursday before they jet out on Friday for the game.

The Black Meteors must protect a slender 1-0 win from the first leg to advance to the next stage of the competition.

2017 AFCON: Ghanaian referee Agbovi to handle Morocco versus Libya qualifier  FIFA.com News

GRefAbgovi

Ghanaian FIFA referee William Agbovi will officiate the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Morocco and Libya on June 12.

The Ghanaian centre man will be assisted on the lines by compatriots David Laryea and Dawood Ouadragou with Seidu Bomison serving as match official.

Moroccan coach Badou Ezzaki has announced his squad for the fixture against Libya at the  Agadir Grand Stadium.

Ghana FA technical chief Oti Akenteng alarmed by country’s poor showing at CHAN  FIFA.com News

Oti Akenteng

Ghana FA technical chief  Francis Oti Akenteng says Ghana’s 3-0 loss to Zambia in the ongoing COSAFA cup is alarming and requires adequate break down.

The locally assembled Black Stars were white- washed by a spirited Zambian side in their plate semi-final game on Wednesday.

Maxwell Konadu’s men looked tired and lacked creativity to fashion out chances in the entire game.

The defeat added to a poor display against Madagascar on Monday to crown off a disappointing campaign.

“The results is alarming and unfortunate but I must state I did not watch the game and have not heard from Maxwell too,” Akenteng told Citi FM

“I think we only accepted to even play in the competition because we wanted to give our boys the required exposure.

“We will have to wait and hear from Maxwell before drawing any conclusion.”

Ghana played 2 games in the competition scored 1 goal and conceded 5.

 

FIFA U20 World Cup: Ghana whizkid Prosper Kasim counts on Sellas Tetteh’s experience for teams success in New Zealand  FIFA.com News

Prosper Kasim

Prosper Kasim

Ghana U-20 midfielder Prosper Kassim says the experience of coach Sellas Tetteh in the FIFA U-20 world cup will be their key to success in New Zealand. 

The Black Satellites will attempt to replicate the form of the all-conquering 2009 squad which won the competition in Egypt.

Coach Sellas Tetteh’s men placed 3rd in the Africa Youth competition held in Senegal earlier in the year but have been handed a favorable group which contains Panama, Austria and Argentina.

Set to open their campaign in a fortnight’s time Kassim says the experience of 2009 world cup winning coach will be instrumental.

“It’s a competition and a dream for every young player. We know the expectations back home we hope we have the favor that brings success in such competition,” Kassim told GHANAsoccernet.com

“We have a coach who has seen it all before at this level and from all that he has puts us through we are confident of doing well.”

Maxwell Konadu: Local Black Stars coach admits more needs to be done to qualify for 2016 CHAN  FIFA.com News

Maxwell Konadu, coach of Ghana during the 2015 Cosafa Cup Quarter Final match between Ghana and Madagascar at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg on the 25 May 2015  ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Maxwell Konadu, coach of Ghana during the 2015 Cosafa Cup Quarter Final match between Ghana and Madagascar at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg on the 25 May 2015 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Local Black Stars coach Maxwell Konadu has admitted there is more room for improvement after his side’s humiliating campaign at the COSAFA Cup competition.

The Ghanaians suffered a shattering 3-0 defeat against Zambia on Wednesday  which followed their surprised 2-1 reverse against Madagascar on Monday to exit the competition.

Ghana was favorite to land the coveted trophy but were given a reality check by both Madagascar and Zambia to crash out, shipping in 5 goals and scoring only once.

Having placed second in the last edition of the CHAN competition held in South Africa Maxwell Konadu admits the level in his side has dropped and requires extra work to reach the desired level.

“We are a disappointed by the score-line but that is football for you,” Konadu told Supersport TV in a post-match interview.

“We have to do a lot of work to ensure that we are able to qualify for the next CHAN competition.”

Konadu claims of the unavailability of key some key players is being hotly contested in the Ghanaian media.

Finland-based Ghanaian defender Gideon Baah named in Europa League Best XI for 2014/2015 season  FIFA.com News

BAA Europa League

Ghanaian defender Gideon Baah has been named in the Europa League Team of the Season, according to whoscored.com. 

Baah who plays for Finnish side HJK Helsinki, was rewarded with a place in the team after his impressive display in the group stages.

The 23 year old  formed a back line of four with Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Dynamo Kyiv ‘s Khacheri and Dynamo Moscows Hubocan in the Europa league team of the season.

Baah joined current Finish Champions HJK Helsinki from Honka and was an immediate hit, becoming a rock at the heart of HJK defense leading to their league triumph.

The Ghanaian could however not power HJK into the knock out stages of the UEFA Europa League but was rated the best defender in the competition with an index of 7.90.

Baah’s performance is even more impressive given HJK exited the competition at the group stage.

HJK Helsinki and Baah will now look to make the group stages of the UEFA champion’s league this season after winning the league title last season.

UEFA Europa League Team of the Season:

Cillessen, T,Hubacan, Y Khacheridi, P, Jagielka, Gideon Baah, Tore, K.Kampl, G.Krychowiak, K, De Bryune, R.Lukaku, Alan

Kotoko to play AshGold on September 20 as part of club’s 80th anniversary celebrations  FIFA.com News

Asante Kotoko players

Asante Kotoko players

Asante Kotoko will play rivals AshantiGold on 20 September at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in for the Otumfuo Cup.

The friendly game is part of activities to mark the Kotoko’s 80th anniversary.

My Sports Organisation is putting it together in collaboration with the Despite Group of companies.

“All is set for the launch and the match itself in Kumasi,” chairman Anim Addo said.

“We are looking forward to a big game, 80 years in an club’s life is no mean an achievement. We are putting things in place to give the club a befitting anniversary match.”

Hearts coach delighted with opportunity to use fringe players  FIFA.com News

 

Herbert Addo

Herbert Addo

Hearts of Oak coach Herbert Addo says he is using the Elite Cup competition as a platform to give precious game time to some of his fringe and returning players from injury.

The Phobians posted an impressive 3-0 win over Elmina Sharks in their first game of Group 4 in the inaugural competition on Wednesday.

The game saw the likes of Abraziz Abankwa and Ashittey Ollenu making a return to the first team after a long injury layoff.

This adds up to the weekend return of Emmanuel Hayford who also just returned from injury.

Coach Herbert Addo is delighted with opportunity to us such a competitive platform to give these players some playing time on their return from injury.

“If a player is injured you need to give him time to recover and then you also have to give him time to be fit after a long layoff,” he said.

“Then tactically, you have to give them a match – people like Aziz, Ollenu and the others.

“They needed some playing time and this was a chance to give them the chance.

“I made similar changes in the last game in Tema and we will do same for Sunday’s match before we prepare for Esperance.”

Konadu attributes Ghana’s poor performance at COSAFA Cup to unavailability of key players  FIFA.com News

 

Maxwell KonaduGhana coach Maxwell Konadu says the unavailability of some key players is partly responsible for his side’s poor performance at the COSAFA Cup.

The home-based Black Stars who were invited to compete on the tournament meant for Southern African nations failed to impress and lost two games in succession.

Ghana lost its opening game in the quarter finals having been seeded to Madagascar before suffering a thumping 3-0 defeat to Zambia on Wednesday.

The stinging defeats will have an adverse effect on Ghana’s position on the FIFA world rankings.

Many soccer pundits back home have spoken of their immense disappointment in the team’s performance – often blaming it on the incompetence of coach Maxwell Konadu.

But the assistant trainer of the main Black Stars team says he didn’t participate in the COSAFA Cup with his full squad – losing some of his players to other national team assignments.

“We have some of our good players in other national assignments,” Konadu explained.

“So we look to get them back and then make sure we qualify for the CHAN.”

Hearts host Tamale Utrecht on Sunday in FA Cup quarter-final clash  FIFA.com News

Hearts of Oak

Hearts of Oak

The MTN FA Cup quarter finals match between Hearts of Oak and Tamale Utrecht has been scheduled for Sunday May 31 at the Accra Stadium.

Tuesday’s live draw which was held in Takoradi saw the Phobians drawn at home against the second tier side from the Northern region.

Hearts of Oak got to this stage of the competition after eliminating Elimina Sharks, Bolga Man City and Afienya City in the Round of 64, 32 and 16 respectively.

Utrecht on the other hand qualified after winning their games against topflight sides Bechem United, BA United and Division two side Starke FC.

U20 World Cup: African teams hit by visa hitches ahead of tournament in New Zealand  FIFA.com News

U20 World Cup: African teams hit by visa hitches ahead of tournament in New Zealand

Sellas Tetteh, the coach of Ghana

Senegal are understood to be worst hit by a visa hitch ahead of the start of the U20 World Cup in New Zealand as only three players have been issued entry visas, while several Ghana officials were denied entry to the host nation.

Senegal, who finished runners at the 2015 African Youth Championship they hosted in March, were also refused entry to Austria for a training camp prior to the World Cup.

A top official of the Black Satellites said he was puzzled that several officials from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) were refused visas to New Zealand.

“Is it that they are looking down on Ghana?” the official lamented.

African champions Nigeria have thus far not suffered any visa snag to the World Cup.

Senegal are making their debut in New Zealand, while Ghana made history as the first African team to win the U20 World Cup in 2009 in Egypt.

The Junior Teranga Lions are drawn in Group C alongside Portugal, Colombia and Qatar, while Ghana are in Group B with seven-time winners Argentina, Panama and Austria.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup in numbers  FIFA.com News

With just a couple of days to go until the latest FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA.com takes a statistical look at New Zealand 2015 and the tournament's history.

The U20 World Cup will be played in New Zealand

With just a couple of days to go until the latest FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA.com takes a statistical look at New Zealand 2015 and the tournament’s history.

694 U-20 World Cup graduates have gone on to compete in the senior FIFA World Cup™, while 32 have lifted the most coveted Trophy in the beautiful game.

100 of the 504 players at New Zealand 2015 play their football in foreign leagues. USA’s squad, with 13, has the most players overseas, followed by Mali with ten. By contrast, every one of the players representing Myanmar, Ukraine and Uzbekistan ply their trade with domestic clubs.

85 different countries have been represented at the U-20 World Cup during the 20 editions since 1977. That number is to swell yet further at New Zealand 2015 with the addition of debutants Fiji and Myanmar.

68 wins and 216 goals are the tournament record tallies held by Brazil ahead of New Zealand 2015. Famed for their dazzling attacking play, the South Americans also boast the best defensive record in the history of the U-20 World Cup with 51 clean sheets.

48 centimetres tall and 5.1 kilograms in weight, the current U-20 World Cup trophy was redesigned in 2011, with France the first and thus far only team to hold aloft this version.

18 years and nine months is the average age that establishes Nigeria as the youngest squad at New Zealand 2015. The oldest, meanwhile, will be provided by the European duo of Germany and Ukraine, both of whom have an average age of 20.

14 seconds is all it took Nigeria’s Monday Odiaka to score the fastest goal in U-20 World Cup history against Canada in 1985. His compatriot, John Owoeri, netted the second-quickest, four seconds shy of the record.

13 goals were scored in the highest-scoring match in U-20 World Cup history: Brazil’s 10-3 win over Korea Republic at Malaysia 1997. Future Seleção internationals Fernandao and Ze Elias posted braces apiece in the contest, while Adailton was on target six times in an incredible 39-minute spell. Kosta Salapasidis of Australia and Spain’s Fernando Llorente, who managed four goals in respective meetings with Argentina in 1997 and Chile in 2005, remain the only other players to have netted more than three times in one game. Remarkably, Brazil repeated the ten-goal feat at the same edition, registering a 10-0 thrashing of Belgium – the tournament’s biggest-ever win – just three days later.

13 years and three months was the tender age at which Republic of Ireland’s Jason Byrne became the youngest player in the history of the U-20 World Cup in 1991. The most youthful of the 504 players selected for New Zealand 2015 is 16-year-old Panamanian Adalberto Carrasquilla, born on 28 November 1998. The oldest, meanwhile, are Colombia’s Daniel Londono and Bryan Rochez of Honduras, both of whom were born on 1 January 1995 – the latest possible date to qualify for this edition.

11 goals at the 2001 edition not only earned Javier Saviola the adidas Golden Shoe, but set a tournament record that still stands. The former Argentina striker’s predatory skills helped La Albiceleste clinch the 2001 crown with a tournament record haul of 27 goals, and he remains the U-20 World Cup’s all-time leading scorer.

8 different U-20 World Cups – a tournament record – were overseen by Les Scheinflug as coach of Australia. Other U-20 coaching veterans include the esteemed Jose Pekerman, who won three of the four U-20 World Cups in which he led Argentina, Berti Vogts, Carlos Queiroz, Raymond Domenech and Ange Postecoglou. Ghana’s Sellas Tetteh is back for his fourth FIFA tournament and will be looking to maintain his record of having reached at least the semi-finals in each of his three so far.

7 players arrive at New Zealand 2015 having already played at a U-20 World Cup. All seven took part at Turkey 2013: the Mali trio of Ichaka Diarra, Souleymane Sissoko and Hamidou Traore, Ghana’s Clifford Aboagye, New Zealand captain Bill Tuiloma, Nigeria’s Onyinye Ndidi and Zhabikillo Urinboev of Uzbekistan. A total of 77 players at this tournament have experience of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with New Zealand alone boasting 12 veterans of that particular tournament.

6 U-20 World Cup titles (1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007) have established Argentina as the tournament’s most successful team. Brazil follow on five, with two-time winners Portugal are the only other country to have lifted the trophy more than once. The Argentinians also arrive at New Zealand 2015 protecting an 18-match unbeaten run at the competition, with a decade having now passed their last defeat in this competition.

4 consecutive U-20 World Cups have now kicked off without the tournament’s reigning champions. France, winners in 2013, failed to qualify to defend their title in New Zealand, following in the footsteps of Brazil in 2013, Ghana in 2011 and Argentina in 2009.

Asamoah Gyan backs Zlatko Dalic to stay on as Al Ain coach  FIFA.com News

Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan has backed Zlatko Dalic to remain as Al Ain manager despite the club’s disappointing exit from the Asian Champions League, insisting the Croat deserves “respect”.

The UAE champions crashed out of the continental competition in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night, conceding three goals in a five-minute spell against Al Ahli to eventually draw the last-16 second leg 3-3. After a stalemate in the first match, Al Ain were eliminated on the away-goal rule.

Rumours regarding Dalic’s position have been swirling since the result, with the club’s supporters taking to social media to call for the coach’s dismissal.

However, Gyan defended Dalic immediately following Wednesday’s encounter, citing his record at the Garden City side since he was installed as manager 15 months ago.

Taking charge of a struggling, albeit talented squad, in February last year, Dalic guided Al Ain to the President’s Cup crown, a semi-final place in the 2014 Champions League and then to a 12th UAE championship this season.

Al Ain had excelled in the Champions League group stages again this time around, finishing top of their pool.

Heading into the return fixture against Ahli, they boasted the tournament’s best defensive record, while they departed the competition unbeaten in their eight matches.

Asked if Dalic should remain in his position, Gyan replied: “Why not? He’s done an incredible job. This game was the first we lost in the Champions League. Tactically we’ve done well, we’re the team that conceded the least goals.

“Defensively we’re better, although we conceded three here. In our last 16 games, no team has ever scored two goals against Al Ain. So we’ve been solid defensively this year. We should have completed it in this game, but we couldn’t.

“Zlatko has done a good job, he needs a bit of respect. If he leaves then it’s football, but I don’t think he should. He needs respect.”

Gyan had given Al Ain an early lead at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, scoring after four minutes. Yet the hosts crumbled at the beginning of the second half, when Ahli defender Salmeen Khamis levelled the match to spark a frenetic five minutes. In that time, Ahmed Khalil struck twice to put Ahli 3-1 up.

Requiring three to turnaround the tie, Gyan pulled one back on 78 minutes, before substitute Rashid Essa restored parity on the night in injury-time. Al Ain could not grab another, though, and in the process missed out on a place in the quarter-finals.

“I’m very upset with this result, frustrated and sad we went out in this manner,” Gyan said. “We started the group stage with good results, but we conceded silly goals — three in five minutes, which is incredible.

“After they equalised we were down. I don’t know why we should go down after 1-1. They capitalised on our mistakes, took advantage of us and scored three goals in five minutes, which is uncalled for. I’m very, very upset; for the first time very upset with conceding goals. We can take goals, but not silly ones like this.

“But kudos to Ahli. They did what they could, they qualified from a hard group in a hard way, they continued with their performance and their strong mentality and they won. This was a game for the mind, and the toughest team with a strong mentality carried through.”

Individually, Gyan’s 2014/15 campaign has not been his finest, although the winner of the Arabian Gulf League’s three previous Golden Boot awards still managed to score 24 goals in all competitions.

Injuries and illness stunted his season, with Gyan also involved with Ghana at last summer’s World Cup, and then again in the African Cup of Nations earlier this year. Consequently, this has not been his finest stretch in UAE football.

“It affected me a lot,” he said. “I’ve complained and complained, but we’re professionals. Last season I played every game — Champions League, President’s Cup, went to the World Cup. Every game I played 90 minutes. This season, I had a couple of injuries and I was very, very tired. There was a bit of frustration — I had a bout of malaria, injuries — where physically I wasn’t that good. But thank God I’m back to my normal shape. This particular game I felt good so we have to start from there.”

Gyan will now take time away from football, before returning to Al Ain next month for pre-season. This term may have concluded regrettably — last week, Al Ain lost their President’s Cup quarter-final against Al Nasr — but the striker reminded that his side emerged as the reigning UAE champions.

“There’s frustrations, but at least thank god we went home with something,” he said. “We won the league and next season we’re still participating in the Champions League even though we’re out. We have to go home with our family, go on vacation, then prepare our body and our mind and everything to come back to start the season again.”

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