Former Ghana international Derek Boateng has highlighted the importance of veteran striker Asamoah Gyan to Black Stars’ ambitions of winning the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
The selection of the 33-year-old Kayserispor forward for the June 21 to July 19 championship has become a topic of discussion following his recent challenges with injury, form and playing time at club level.
Calls for his exclusion escalated last week when he announced his surprise retirement from international duty over being stripped of the national team captaincy. He made a U-turn two days later after Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo spoke to him privately.
“Even if you won’t be playing him [Gyan] in the starting XI, you need to take him [to the tournament] because in these kinds of tournaments, you need experienced players around the team,” Boateng told Pulse Ghana.
“Some of the players haven’t played in the Afcon before.
“Trust me, this tournament is different from the World Cup. It is very tough.”
Gyan, Ghana’s most capped and all-time top scorer of 51 goals in 106 matches – has been named as the new ‘General Captain’.
The former Sunderland man has played at every Cup of Nations tournament since 2008 and has also represented Ghana at three World Cup tournaments in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
At the upcoming Afcon, Ghana have been pitted against defending champions Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in Group F.
The Black Stars are seeking to win their fifth title and their first in 37 years.