Ex-Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has revealed that insults and harsh criticism from Ghanaians made him develop a tough skin.
The 37-year-old disclosed that he was only used to being pampered before he ventured into professional football.
It will be recalled that Gyan was one of the most vilified players during the 2008 AFCON hosted by Ghana, having been targeted by the home fans for his wastefulness in front of goal.
The criticisms were so severe that the striker, then just 22, planned to leave camp with his senior brother, Baffour Gyan, after Ghana’s second group game against Namibia.
However, it took the intervention of then-President John Agyekum Kufour for him to rescind his decision.
Gyan said missing an open goal against Namibia remains one of his lowest points, but was quick to add that criticisms made him a stronger person.
“It made me a strong guy. All my life, I was pampered and that was how I developed that tough skin,” he said on The Day Show on TV3.
“Statistically we were ahead. Ghanaians thought we were going to beat them [Namibia] like 20-0. And it was one of those days. I wasn’t lucky. I think I was one of the best players on the field but I wasn’t lucky.
“One opportunity that I got at an acute angle. The goalkeeper fumbled and the ball dropped. The keeper was out and I just hit the ball wide.
“And the following day…eii! That was the first time I experienced criticism. So there were just insulting. It was really bad.”
The former Sunderland striker played for the Black Stars for a decade and a half, becoming his country’s all-time top scorer with 51 goals.
He is also Ghana’s second most-capped player, having played 109 times across different tournaments and friendlies.