‘I was breathless, pale and sickly’ – Gyan recounts famous ‘malaria goal’ against Algeria

Ex-Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has recounted how unwell he was feeling before scoring the winner against Algeria during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Asamoah Gyan recounts famous ‘malaria goal’ against Algeria

The Black Stars were in a group of death at that tournament after being paired alongside Algeria, South Africa and Senegal.

Having lost to Senegal in their opening game, Ghana needed a win against the Desert Foxes to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive.

Gyan, who was battling malaria at the time, turned out to be the match-winner after scoring a late goal to secure a 1-0 win over the North Africans.

It remains one of the striker’s most memorable goals in his career and recounting the moment in his autobiography, ‘LeGyanDary’, he said he felt very sick before and during the game.

“I walked onto the pitch breathless, looking pale and sickly but yet with the heart of a warrior ready to cause damage to the opponent. My body wanted to sit down but my love for the team and my country wouldn’t let me,” Gyan wrote in his book.

“The game started and I had a chance but couldn’t do much with the ball. The Algerians, realising how unwell I was, kept pushing me off the ball at the least opportunity. I kept pushing on but lacked the characteristic sharpness of my play.

“The team tried to keep the game going by helping me in attack. Everyone realised how ineffective and out of place I was on the field.”

He added: “In the second half, things got tougher for me. I felt awful. My whole body ached, excruciatingly. I took each step with great difficulty. Running left me breathless.

“I mean I had been woeful through the game and lacked any possibility of getting a goal. But he [Mubarak Wakaso] still believed in me. He hit the ball towards me. It was a long pass from our half to attack. When the ball was in mid-flight, a lot of things went through my mind. Should I chase and see what comes out of it? Or I should just let it go.

“I was exhausted after running around for 90 minutes. But when the ball hit the ground I knew I could do it. It was a do or die affair for me. I knew this was less than a half-chance but everything was possible.”

Gyan’s autobiography was officially launched on April 30, 2022, and is currently on sale at the Booknook store.

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