Gyan And Criticism: How ex-President Kufour helped Gyan to become mentally tough

Asamoah Gyan has revealed that former President, John Agyekum Kufour, played a key role in helping him become a mentally tough person.

Former President Kufour dissuaded Gyan from leaving camp during the 2008 AFCON

Kufour served as Ghana’s President from 2001 to 2009, and encountered Gyan and the Black Stars a couple of occasions.

One of those encounters came in 2008 when Ghana hosted the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

With the Black Stars finishing third, Gyan was one of the most vilified players during the tournament, having been targeted by the home fans for his wastefulness in front of goal.


The criticisms were so severe that the striker, then just 22, planned to leave camp with his senior brother, Baffour Gyan, after Ghana’s only second group game against Namibia.

However, the Head of State at the time intervened and convinced the striker to remain with the Black Stars.

Over 12 years after the incident, Gyan has opened up on how his talk with Kufour on that day helped shape him into a mentally tough person.

In an exclusive interview with, the striker said the ex-President’s words have helped his career.


“He [ex-president Kufour] is one of the men that made me very strong; the advice he gave me,” Gyan told

“You being in the limelight, you need to be ready for every criticism, so I took his word [and it really helped my career].”

Gyan further revealed what Kufour told him to make him rescind his decision to leave camp during the 2008 AFCON.

“He came to me and he told me: ‘in football things happen and you have to be ready for criticism’,” he said.


“And at that time, I wasn’t used to criticism because, starting from the colts level, it was like I was being pampered.

“I was getting everything right and I didn’t know anything about criticism until that time.”

Gyan is currently Ghana’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals.


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