The Gyan Press Conference that shouldn’t have happened

(I wrote this weeks ago. Enjoy)

They say there’s something to the name Gyan which seems to always stir some sort of controversy at one point or the other. There is Boakye Gyan of the AFRC, Yaw Boakye Gyan the NDC National Organizer, Afari-Gyan of the Electoral Commission, Kwame Gyan who caused a bit of a stir on social media a few months back, Bafour Gyan and his national team captain Asamoah Gyan.

Let’s make the focus of this piece our national team captain and how his lawyers and PR people have handled all the brouhaha surrounding the disappearance of his rapper friend Castro and a young lady. My friend Gary Al-Smith has listed what he calls “The 7 sins of Asamoah Gyan’s PR Team”. I largely agree with most of what Gary touched on. Thing is, people do not realise the important role proper PR practice plays in our daily lives, especially when it involves a football star with the status of Asamoah Gyan.

This is the background to this entire unfortunate story and the recurring mistakes of Asamoah Gyan and those around him. In fact, I expect him to know that the principal reason he has a lot of people around him is because he is rich and these people are there for what they can get from him and not necessarily what they can do for him.

Well, Gyan had a horrific World Cup despite scoring to become Africa’s leading goal poacher in World Cup history. All the nonsense with cash and player unrest rubs off him as team captain whether he likes it or not. He then comes on his usual vacation in Ghana where a lot of hangers – on and party-loving young women flock to ‘chill with the one and only Asamoah Gyan’. Sadly for everyone this year’s vacation did not go too well as Castro, a well-known musician and friend of Asamoah Gyan goes missing with a female companion whilst allegedly riding on a jet ski.

Now, as far as most of us were concerned it seemed an accident which had nothing to do with the Black Stars captain except for the fact that he footed the bill for the vacation and was close by when the alleged incident occurred. To be fair, I found all the talk about what the Al-Ain striker should have done or not done and what he should have said but didn’t say preposterous. It was even more unrealistic and unreasonable the claims and demands of the family of Janet Bandu, the young lady who disappeared with Castro was making.
I did say a few weeks back that frankly, I find the family members of Janet Bandu unrealistic and opportunists. What moral, legal or whatever obligation does Asamoah Gyan have to call, visit or compensate or even console them when they began granting interviews on what they perceived as the neglect by the captain? Seriously, that was opportunistic at best.

Yes their daughter may have been one of the many guests of Gyan on that vacation but so what? The fact that your daughter was among other guests at a Gyan-sponsored event and she goes missing doesn’t warrant that he has to kowtow to you and your demands? Was Janet forced to join the vacation? Was she under-age and as such required permission from an adult to step out? Was it Gyan who pushed her into the water or hid her under a table? Gyan will be obviously closer to Castro and his family and associates but he wouldn’t necessarily be close to people who may have been close to Castro. I am no lawyer but I struggle to find from which of our laws, be it civil or criminal, that the police can use to arrest Gyan. Yes, it is sad to lose family. But we should not let that pain cloud the realities of this matter.

Her parents clearly didn’t know what their daughter was engaged in nor where she was and all of that. If they want to find blame they should look at home first. We all wished that by some miracle Castro and Janet will spring up from nowhere but chale that is increasingly becoming impossible. That notwithstanding, they should remember that Gyan is grieving just as much. He has a job to do and he has gone back to work. The police have their job to do and that should be allowed to happen too.

Whilst all of this was gaining currency, the other side of the Ghanaian had to impute all sorts of spiritual meanings to this. The talk about some ‘money ritual’ and all that is to me, a very myopic line of thought that should not have ever been entertained. Indeed a lot of our people have strong beliefs in spirituality and it is also not too common to find people attributing the success of others to anything but hard work. Yes there is the Grace of God and there is the other matter of the underworld.

I still struggle to see the sense in holding that September 24 press conference. Yes indeed Gyan’s elder brother had behaved like a fool and managed to court trouble for himself. Luckily for him, his brother is rich and can settle ‘healthily’ out of court. At best, an apology over that incident via a press release should have sufficed. But they found it wise to mix up the issue of Castro’s disappearance and the stupid matter of using the singer for a ritual. What we ended up with was an embarrassing string of worldwide headlines that had Gyan, Ghana, captain, human ritual, sacrifice all in it.

Firstly, I am not sure what matter was settled with that charade. All I can see is the negative PR it has brought the Asamoah Gyan brand. Most people in the world had no idea about this human sacrifice bollocks but now they know. Apart from his lawyer getting rich I do not know what other benefits came out of that interaction. Secondly, it was not as if anyone had officially blamed Gyan for the incidence. In fact, even the rumour mongers had a hard time believing their creations. It is comparable to a blog with an average readership of 50 and a total to date of 1000 writing chaff about you and then you run to call a press conference with the nation’s biggest blogs and TV and radio and print media. Chances are that a chunk of them had no idea of what there was until you spoke out.

As Gary Al-Smith has suggested, it seems Asamoah Gyan and all the people around him do not realize that he is a brand that must be managed much in the same way as others in his line of work have been managed. That mediocre way of thinking and behaving may turn out to haunt him one day. Asamoah Gyan needs a serious-minded team of professionals to manage him and his image and his brand and the earlier he realizes this, the better it would be for him first, and perhaps Ghana later.

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