Former Ghana captain and one of the most successful players of Africa, Asamoah Gyan, is optimistic about football in India.

The former Sunderland striker, who will play for NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League this season, said that when the people in India realise that football is the number one game in the world and they start focusing on football, only then India can really prepare for the World Cup.

“They (India) have to prepare (World Cup) when people focus on them (footballers). As we all know from outside that in India number one sport is cricket. For me the number one sport in world is football so this is the time, I urge the people to focus on football as well. Then the players will get more exposure and they will grow in confidence to prove themselves. Because, sometimes, they think that they don’t get the exposures,” Gyan told The News Mill.

He also said that he thinks Indian football is good enough and it is improving in each year. “So, they have a bright future if they focus on football in near future,” Gyan added.

Besides Sunderland, Gyan has played for Udinese in Serie A, UAE’s Al Ain and Shanghai SIPG among others. He had a phenomenal record with Al Ain scoring 128 goals in 123 matches before he joined the Chinese side Shanghai SIPG.

Gyan also advocated for allowing the Indian origin foreign players to play for India so that the standard of the game can be improved.

“Of course, this should be allowed. Especially countries like France have done it. Those players will make the team very strong. They can make the national team very strong,” he added.

Though Gyan joined the NEUFC team just 10 days ago, he was already back to business as he scored in a pre-season friendly against the India national team in Guwahati.

On the pressure on his shoulder, Gyan said that it is nothing new to him. “Throughout my career – be it in national team or clubs in the top leagues – pressure was always there. So, I am not worried but trying to give my best,” he said.

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About Abdul Gani


Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist