MOGWASE, June 30 – African World Cup hero Asamoah Gyan has set his sights on a move to the English Premier League after firing Ghana to the brink of a place in history at the World Cup.
The striker, who currently plays for French club Rennes, has scored three goals in the Black Stars four matches in South Africa and is confident he will have shaken off an ankle injury in time to do battle with Uruguay’s formidable defenders in Friday’s quarter-final at Soccer City, Johannesburg.
It is all a far cry from two years ago when Gyan and his brother, Baffour, threatened to walk out on their national squad at the African Nations Cup following criticism of their performances from their own supporters.
But the 24-year-old insists all the acrimony has been forgetten as he revels in the experience of starring on football’s biggest stage.
"Am I surprised by how well I’ve played? No. I’ve had a good season for my club and I know what I am worth when I am 100 percent fit," Gyan told AFP at the Ghanaians training camp close to the Sun City resort in north west South Africa.
"Two years ago I was criticised by my compatriots. It hurt, I have to admit that. But I never lost trust in myself. I know that 100 percent fit I would perform and that is what has happened."
Gyan knows that putting himself in contention to win the tournament’s golden boot is bound to attract attention from Europe’s bigger clubs and he would relish the opportunity to join compatriot Michael Essien, the Chelsea midfielder who has missed the World Cup through injury, in the EPL.
"It’s my wish to play in England but as of now I’m at Rennes and concentrating on the World Cup," he said. "We will see what happens afterwards."
Gyan accepts that the Black Stars will go into their meeting with a Uruguayan side that has impressed here as slight under-dogs as they seek to become the first African country to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup.
But he insisted: "This is an African tournament and that gives us confidence. We are a united squad and we have already brought pride to Africa.
"Our other secret is that we have nothing to lose. This tournament is so important for us."
With Gyan winning his battle to be fit, Ghana have also been boosted by the return to training of experienced centreback Isaac Vorsah, who has not played since the opening win over Serbia because of a knee problem.
Vorsah will return to the starting line-up in place of suspended teenage defender Jonathan Mensah, to the delight of Ghana’s Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac.
"It is very good news because Isaac can play at centreback or as a defensive midfielder," Rajevac said. "The important thing is we are able to count on him again."
Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who aggravated a hamstring problem in the 2-1 extra-time win over the United States in the second round, is also expected to be fit.
Ghana will be without suspended midfielder Andre Ayew, which is expected to result in a first start in the tournament for Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari.