x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Al Ain forward Asamoah Gyan to play through grief against Al Shabab

Striker mourns mother but will 'stay back and play this match' before going to Ghana.

Asamoah Gyan has told the Al Ain management to continue with preparations for today's match as usual.
Asamoah Gyan has told the Al Ain management to continue with preparations for today's match as usual.

Asamoah Gyan will play for Al Ain tonight against Al Shabab before he will return to Ghana following the death of his mother.

Club officials had revealed that he had been given backing by the club to return to his family in Accra immediately, but that the forward has chosen to stay and play before he departs.

"Gyan will fly home to be with his family members soon after the game," Mohammed Obaid Hammad, the team manager said.

"He has decided to stay back and play this match although he was granted permission to leave by both the club management and the coach [Cosmin Olaroiu].

"We respect his decision. He has told us to go ahead with the same arrangements as we would play under normal circumstances but I am sure the fans will come to show their gratitude at the Shabab stadium."

Olaroiu said the rest of the players were supporting Gyan, who has scored 12 goals this season, in his difficult time.

"Gyan's contributions have been immense not only in terms of scoring goals but the motivation and camaraderie he brings to the team," Olaroiu said.

"Our condolences are with him and his family at this difficult time. He has decided to play this game and there will be no doubt all his teammates will rally around to support him in this match.

"There is no better way to console him than with a good result. It is the very idea Gyan wants to play so he could get some comfort."

The defending champions will be travelling to the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium in Dubai on the back of a thumping 5-0 home win over Al Wasl, handing the Dubai club their first league defeat in six games.

Olaroiu is taking nothing for granted though in his team's preparations.

"This match comes straight after two hard games against Al Jazira [which ended in a 2-2 draw] and Wasl.

"The players are still recovering and that doesn't give us much time to prepare.

"However, we will try to demonstrate the same technical level we played against Wasl. A win here will really be a big step forward for us in the league."

Olaroiu does not believe that 12th place in the league with only five points to their name does Shabab justice.

"The results they have had and the position they are in at the moment don't justify Shabab's strength," he said.

"You can't forget their achievements last season. They haven't been consistent this time around but it can change at any time, perhaps in the game against us.

"They have two strong attacking players Ciel and Luiz Henrique whom we will have to mark closely. Given space and good ball, they can punish us."

apassela@thenational.ae

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