SPORTS

How Panathinaikos missed out on Sunderland’s Gyan

Sunderland and Ghana star striker Asamoah Gyan shed light on August 20 on the reason why his spell at Panathinaikos when he was just a teenager was so short, revealing that the Greens had wanted to sign him at the time but that a newly introduced FIFA regulation had stopped them.

Gyan was the leading figure in Ghana’s march to the quarterfinals of last year’s World Cup in South Africa and is now plying his trade successfully in the northeast of England.

The 25-year-old forward very nearly started his European career at the age of 15 in Greece after getting spotted by Panathinaikos scouters at his club in Accra, the Liberty Professionals.

His trial at the Paiania training court of Panathinaikos 10 years ago was impressive enough for the Greens to decide to sign him, and they began making the necessary moves, only to hit a snag posed at the time by world soccer’s governing body.

?At 15, I went to Panathinaikos and they wanted me to sign, but FIFA brought in a new rule and I couldn?t so young,? Gyan told British newspaper Daily Mirror in an interview. ?I returned to Ghana to complete my education. I ended up signing for Udinese when I was 18.»