Exclusive: The former Black Stars skipper says he was more of an all-round player than the team’s current captain despite sharing several qualities
Former Ghana captain Kwasi Owusu believes Asamoah Gyan is currently the best striker in the country but insists he, Owusu, was a more complete player than the Al Ain goal machine despite his global recognition.
Gyan, who is the Black Stars captain, has had stints with Udinese, Stade Rennes and Sunderland before a big money move to the Gulf region. Owusu, however, never played for any foreign club but local side Bofoakwa Tano throughout his career. He rose to fame after his heroics in the 1970 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger. The bulky striker affectionately referred to as ‘Powerhouse’ scored nine goals in both ties to hand Ghana qualification. He captained the team at the 1970 Afcon held in Sudan.
“I think Gyan is a good striker and currently the best in the country but honestly, I was better than him although he possesses some of my qualities,” Owusu told Goal. “It is likely he would’ve been in the Black Stars team during our days – late 1960’s and early 1970’s – but he might be on the bench because of the quality players available at that time. The likes of Osei Kofi, Mfum, Ibrahim Sunday and Malik Jabir were top class players to match back then.
“I was using both feet to score goals more than Gyan is currently exhibiting and I was very good with my head too. I scored more than 70 goals for Ghana but I’m told only 39 were recognised as official goals because of lack of documents,” the 67-year-old said.
“Gyan rarely scores goals with his head but I scored more than 20 international goals with my head and several at club side.”
He added: “How can a player who hardly scores two goals and can’t even score hat-trick for country surpass me? He is not always serious in games. One goal is enough for him but that wasn’t my style. In 1970, I scored five against Niger at their home ground in the Afcon qualifiers and again scored four in the return fixture. That should underline that I was a force to reckon with in front of goal.”
Gyan, 29, has scored 46 goals in 90 international caps but just like Owusu, he has never won the Africa Cup of Nations despite coming close on several occasions. Gyan has played five Afcon tournaments, scoring seven goals but Owusu was part of the 1968 and 1970 squads that lost the finals to Congo Kinshasa and host nation Sudan respectively, scoring four goals.
Owusu further revealed that former Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Pereira influenced his career despite his short stint with him. “He was very jovial to his players and would usually have time for you to understand his system. His methods of teaching brought the best out of me and I think he was the best coach ever to work under. No wonder he made it to the top in his career as a coach.”