Asamoah Gyan (Best Youth Motivator, 2014)
Born on 22 November 1985 in Accra, Ghana, Asamoah Gyan is the third born of his family born to Mr. George Baffour Mensah Gyan, an accountant and the late Madam Cecelia Gyan Baffour Mensah (Nee Cecilia Love Amoako), an educationist.
He started football at a tender age when he played for Liberty Professional youth and Cedaps colt club in Ghana. His primary and junior secondary education was at Seven Greats Academy and his senior secondary education at Accra Academy, where he featured for Ghana Academicals team during his school days in 2001. He was recalled into the Liberty Proffesional team in 2002 and loaned out to Stay cool professionals in the lower division to help their promotion into the elite division.
Asamoah Gyan began his professional career in 2003 with Ghana Premiership club, “Liberty Professionals”, where he scored a prolific ten goals in sixteen matches. He caught the attention of Italian Seria A giants Udinese, where he spent some time before being loaned to Modena, netting fifteen times in fifty-three league matches and at Udinese, where he netted the goal eleven times in thirty-nine league matches. His international debut was at the age of 17. Gyan scored his senior International debut for Ghana against Somalia on 19 November 2003 in the 90th minute, helping Ghana to win that game, and making him the youngest ever player to score for Ghana. He was part of the 2004 Ghana Olympic squad who exited in the first round, having finished in third place in Group B. He featured in his first ever world Cup and scored the fastest goal of the tournament after 68 seconds. The strike was also Ghana's first ever goal in the FIFA World Cup.
In 2008, he joined “Ligue 1 club Rennes” netting the goal fourteen times in forty-eight league matches during two seasons. He scored the opener in the 2008 African Cup of Nation hosted in Ghana. He played again in the 2010 African Cup of Nations, helping the Ghanaian team, to the finals by scoring three out of the four Ghana goals during the tournament. He also played in the first ever Africa hosted World Cup in South Africa 2010, where he scored against Serbia in the opener and again drew Ghana to level in the game against Australia.
In August 2010, he joined English Premiership club Sunderland, breaking the club's transfer record and netted the goal on ten occasions in thirty-four Premier League matches during two seasons. He was also the scorer of Ghana's enterprising equaliser against England at Wembley in the international friendly on 29 March 2011.
In 2011-2012 seasons, Asamoah Gyan joined Al Ain of the UEA Pro-League on loan and become the league's top-goal scorer netting the goal prolifically twenty-four times in twenty-seven matches. In 2012-2013 season, he permanently joined Al Ain and once again became the league's top-goal scorer while he helped Al Ain retain the UAE Pro-League title netting the goal prolifically twenty-eight times in thirty-two matches. In 2013-2014 seasons, he netted the goal on forty occasions in forty-four matches with Al Ain.
He was subsequently appointed Captain of the Ghana National team where he led the team to 2013 African Cup of Nation where Ghana crushed out in the semi-final to Burkina Faso.
He was named again in Ghana's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on 2 June 2014. In the team's opening match, he captained the Black Stars against the United States, where he scored his first goal of the tournament in a 2–2 draw with Germany, equaling Roger Milla’s record of five FIFA World Cup goals. In the final group match, he became the top African goal scorer in World Cup finals history by scoring a goal in the defeated 2–1game to Portugal. He went on to sign a contract extension with Al-Ain, keeping him in the club until 2018 and making him the highest paid footballer in Africa.
Other activities aside his football passion are the:
- Gyan Investments Ghana Limited (GIGL), which develops and provides quality products and services at the most affordable terms in the ever emerging market in Ghana.
- Baby Jet Promotions: an event organizing outfit, music, movie and sports Promotions Company. It is known for successfully leading the crusade for the rebirth of boxing in Ghana. In summer 2010, Gyan recorded and released a Hiplife song with Castro The Destroyer, where he featured under the alias "Baby Jet". The song won an award at the Ghana Music awards in 2011. He again joined Castro in another duo "Do Da Dance and “Odo pa” which won the Hi-life song in Ghana in 2013.
- On charitable activities, the Asamoah Gyan Foundation stimulates action for change among the vulnerable and needy members of marginalised society. The foundation identifies problems confronting communities in Ghana and finds short term, medium term and long term solutions to them.