ALL attention appears to have focussed on the exploits of Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan, on the field of play and, especially so, after he added another monumental feat to his illustrious career when he scored his 50th international goal for Ghana– an all-time record in nation’s soccer history – as the Black Stars thumped Ethiopia 5-0 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in a Group F African Cup of Nations (AFCoN) qualifying match some 10 days ago – on Sunday, June 11, to be precise.
For the 31-year-old, who now joins the likes of Samuel Eto’o Fils (Cameruon), Didier Drogba (Cote d’Ivoire), Godfrey Chitalu (Zambia) and Hossam Hassan (Egypt) on the 50-goal landmark, this is certainly a significant milestone worth celebrating to the high heavens and the media splash was really worthy.
But there is another brilliant side of this 1.86 metre burly striker, who made his debut for the Black Stars against Somalia in 2003 at the tender age of 17, which is little known in media circles – his generosity, off the field, is hugely impressive and worth writing about.
Asamoah, who currently plies his trade with Al-Ahli Dubai FC has, so far, invested over GH¢ 2.1 million into charity activities as his way of giving back to society.
The 31-year old, who holds the record of Africa’s highest goal scorer in the FIFA World Cup, strongly believes in helping others to make the world a better place for all, especially the less-privileged.
As a result, between 2012 and 2016, he has pumped money into 13 different charitable works under the name: The Asamoah Gyan Foundation.
The Foundation was formed in 2011 but began operations a year later and has been involved in a lot of projects as well as cash donations to the needy over the years.
In all, a total of $490,000 has been sunk into 13 charities. And at an exchange rate of $1 to GH ¢4.4, the Cedi equivalent is GH¢2.1 million.
Biggest single project
The biggest single project, undertaken by the Foundation to date, is the construction of a $250,000 Astro Turf Pitch for Accra Academy School – Asamoah Gyan’s alma mater. The project will be commissioned for public use later this year.
Wenchi water project
Potable water has been a problem for the Wenchi community since Busia’s time.
The chiefs and people of Wenchi appealed to Asamoah Gyan to rehabilitate the water pump that had broken down for almost three decades.
Asamoah Gyan, whose father hails from the Wenchi, did not hesitate to respond positively since he is also a native.
The Asamoah Gyan Foundation, therefore, fully rehabilitated pump station that provides water to Wenchi and adjoining towns and communities. The total cost of the project was $50,000.
St. Francis Teacher Training water project
Asamoah Gyan’s late mother, Cecilia Love Gyan, had his training at the St Francis Teacher Training School in Hohoe.
Having encountered difficulties with water supply for some time, the management of the school contacted the Foundation for assistance.
Gyan took the bold step to help the school in order to honour the memory of his late mother when the school formally wrote to the Foundation for help. The cost of the project was $30,000. The commissioning was done on June 8th, 2016.
June 3 disaster victims
In June, 2015 the Foundation donated 200 bags of rice and noodles at the cost of $5,000 to victims of the June 3 flood and fire disaster which occurred at the GOIL filling station near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.
Children’s Wards: Accra, Kumasi
The Children’s Ward of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Pampaso in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region are also beneficiaries of the Foundation’s benevolence. The Foundation settled bills totalling GH¢18,000 for the Children at the Cardio Centre while the Pampaso Children’s Ward received a total makeover. The Foundation also provided two 42-inch flat screen TVs, beds and multi-tv decorders for the two wards.
Donation of $10,000 to Black Queens
Asamoah Gyan went to rescue of the Black Queens at the 2015 All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. The Queens had entered the competition with little or no motivation from the government. The Black Queens were owed bonuses even from qualifying series before heading to Brazzaville for the All Africa Games.
Gyan, who was with the Black Stars team in Brazzaville for an international friendly match with Congo, donated $10,000 to the Ghana female team upon being made aware of challenges in payment of their winning bonus. This donation spurred on the Black Queens to win gold at the All-Africa Games. $30,000 special bonus to Black Queens.
After donating $10,000 to the Black Queens in Brazzaville during the All-Africa Games, Gyan promised to give the team a special bonus of $30,000 if they won gold.
He fulfilled this promise when the team clinched the gold, beating Cameroon in the final. Incidentally, the donation coincided with Gyan’s birthday.
Donation of $5,000 to Suhum Ghana Blind Society.
Gyan Foundation also made a major contribution to the lives of the Suhum Ghana Blind Society. They provided them with white canes, talking watches, 80 bags of rice and payment of National Health Insurance Scheme for the entire membership of 231.
Presentation of $15,000 to Cardio Centre
In 2015, Asamoah Gyan personally presented a cheque of $15,000 to the Cardio Centre of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital as part of his benevolent activities.
The cheque was received by Director of the Cardiothoracic Centre, Dr. Lawrence Siriboe.
In a brief but touching statement, Gyan said, “I remember my last admission here at Korle-Bu was way back in 1999 so I have some memories about this place.
“I hope my widow’s mite will help address some of the challenges of this unit”.
The delegation later proceeded to the Maternal Unit and Children Ward of the hospital to donate rice and noodles from Mama Vits, one of the companies owned by Asamoah Gyan.
It was after this presentation that Gyan broke the story of his mega-move to Chinese club, Shanghai SIPG, where he was offered about $300,000 a week, to become one of the richest Ghanaian footballers.
Presentation of $20,000 to three health institutions
In 2012, the Asamoah Gyan Foundation donated equipment, worth $20,000, to three health institutions, namely: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the Mamprobi Polyclinic and the Ridge Hospital.
Additionally, 100 patients each of the three health institutions were registered onto the National Health Insurance Scheme by the Foundation.
Support for brilliant-but-needy students.
Another area of great concern to the Foundation is education where support has been provided for many brilliant-but-needy students. Annually, the Fund spends US$7,000 in this area.
3 students sponsored for Master level.
In the same vein, the Foundation is currently footing the bill of three students, who are pursuing their Masters.
The three students secured the sponsorship after reaching out to the Foundation.
So far the Foundation has spent $58,000 on their education.
Kumasi Central Hospital (Soccer Fiesta) – US$5,000
The Fund organised a special competition to raise money for the Kumasi Central Hospital project.
At the end of the day, the Fund donated US$5,000 to the project, part of which came from the proceeds of the competition.
Gyan may have his ups and downs in career as a footballer but when it comes to his philanthropic gestures, perhaps he is second to none.
Many, many brilliant Ghanaian footballers have criss-crossed the green turf, both at home and abroad, and made a great name for themselves and the nation in their endeavours.
But none has shown given back so much to society the way the Asamoah Gyan Foundation is doing and I doff my hat off for him as well as the President of the Foundation, Samuel Anim Addo.
I hope and pray that many more footballers will take a cue from the commendable efforts of the Asamoah Gyan Foundation and contribute, in their own small way, towards the enhancement of society.
Oh yes, the Ghanaian society needs more Asamoah Gyans.
AT A GLANCE
Below are some of the key philanthropic ventures undertaken by the Asamoah Gyan Foundation in the last five years alone.
•Wenchi Water Projects – US$50,000
• Health and Education- US$5,000
•Korle-Bu Cadio Centre-US$ 15,000
•Victims of June 3 Disaster (Products)- US$5,000
•Kumasi Central Hospital (Soccer Fiesta)- US$5,000
•Suhum Ghana Blind Union- US$ 5,000
•Black Queens All Africa Games- US$ 10,000
•School fees for needy-but-brilliant students- US$7,000
•Black Queens on birthday- US$30,000
•Accra Academy Astro Turf- US$250,000
•Hohoe St. Francis Teacher School Water Project- US$ 30,000
•Sponsorship of 3 students for Master’s Program- US$58,000
•Ridge Hospital and Mamprobi Polyclinic surgical and delivery equipment – US$20,000