Fallen Al Ahli striker Asamoah Gyan has vowed persistent injury problems will not get the better of him.
Gyan, 31, has started just six of the champions’ 14 Arabian Gulf League games he was eligible for in 2016/17. This has continued a theme from his time at Shanghai SIPG, from where he was granted a season-long loan exit last summer after fitness troubles bedeviled the man who scored a legendary 128 goals in 123 matches for Al Ain from 2011-15.
Speaking after a twisted ankle restricted him to a second-half substitute’s role in Saturday’s enlivening 2-1 triumph against pacesetters Al Jazira, the Ghana captain
“I’ve been in a very difficult situation in the past nine months, but I’m still trying to make sure I get back to my normal fitness,” said Gyan, who has scored a disappointing six times in 15 games for his temporary employers.
“Definitely, I’m going to get it. I don’t predict, but I believe I’m going to get there.
“When I’m on the pitch, I know what I can do.
“The most important thing is to stay fit – that is what I’m praying for every time.”
Africa’s record goal scorer at World Cups has endured yet another disrupted campaign. He was signed after Ahli had conducted the majority of their pre-season training, while Ghana’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations’ semi-finals saw him stay away from Dubai for nearly two months in mid-season.
In-between, he has struggled to avoid the treatment table. His latest ailment forced him off the pitch after 25 minutes of last week’s 2-0 defeat at Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent in the 2017 AFC Champions League’s group stages.
These repeat issues have seen questions asked about his continued viability for club and country.
“It happens,” Gyan says about the criticism. “Sometimes when things go wrong, people will talk, when things go right people will talk.
“I’ve been in this game for almost 15 years, so I know how it works.
“I’m trying to fight with myself because I know what a fit Asamoah Gyan can do on the pitch.”
The Red Knights’ weekend win – earned when Gyan’s mis-hit shot fell to Brazil playmaker Everton Ribeiro – saw them close to six point on Jazira, in second place. With six games left, plus their continental commitments, Gyan was hoping for a big end to the season.
He said: “Definitely, because I have two and a half months to go. I’m just praying to God that I can stay fit.”