Asamoah Gyan defends Arabian Gulf League

Asamoah Gyan defends Arabian Gulf League
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Published August 30th, 2015 - 14:38 GMT via

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Asamoah Gyan (L)
Asamoah Gyan (L)

Former Al Ain superstar Asamoah Gyan has leapt to the defence of the Arabian Gulf League following implied criticism from his legendary compatriot Abedi Pele.

The Ghanaian three-time African Footballer of the Year Abedi said he was concerned that top Ghana players are not being tested at the ‘highest level’, including in leagues in the Arab world.

But Gyan, who plundered an astonishing 95 goals in 83 appearances for The Boss between 2011 and this year, took exception to his fellow countryman’s comments on Thursday.

The 29-year-old, who joined Shanghai SIPG earlier this summer on a two-year contract estimated to be worth £227,000 (Dh1.23 million) a week, told Kumasi-based Angel FM: “I’m surprised about Abedi’s comments. With my move to Al Ain, he was even instrumental in all of it. He advised me to join them because he had also played there.”

Abedi, the former Marseille striker and 1993 Uefa Champions League winner, ended his illustrious career after a two-year stint at Al Ain between 1998 and 2000.

But in an interview this week, he urged his fellow countrymen to eschew a similar move, advising them to ply their trades in ‘France, Italy, or Germany’ instead.

Abedi, who netted 28 times in 31 games for the current Arabian Gulf League champions, told Citi FM: “There is a danger that the future [of Ghanaian football] is not bright at all and I’m very very worried. The typical example that you can say is what is actually happening.

“You can see most of our players are now going to the Arab world are going to various countries, whose football is not on the highest level.”

Abedi’s sentiments certainly appear to be strange given the fact that few leading Ghana players play in the Middle East, aside from midfielder Sulley Muntari and defender Mohammad Awal at Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad and Al Shabab, respectively.

Ghana captain Gyan, who has scored 48 goals in 90 appearances for his country since 2003, and who has also played in Italy for Udinese and Modena and in France for Rennes, added: “I also felt that for a legend like Abedi, whom I recognise as Ghana’s best player of all time, to take a phone to advise me on this was good counsel, but for the same person to turn round and grant an interview to say such things, I am really surprised and disappointed in him.”

Ex-Sunderland striker Gyan has scored four times in six league appearances for Shanghai SIPG, who lead the 16-team Chinese Super League by a point from Guangzhou Evergrande. Shanghai SIPG are managed by the former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, with the CSL season due to end on October 31.

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