The Ghanaian-Dutch prodigy has had a difficult last eight months but his move to Enschede will put a smile back on his face.
Easter has come at a right time for Edwin Gyasi. His move to FC Twente has resurrected his career. Edwin is still only 20 years of age, something which is hard to believe considering the wave of publicity which has surrounded his time at AZ, SC Telstar and de Graafschap. The attacker had been little more than a bit-part player at Alkmaar, unable to convince Gertjan Verbeek that he merited a consistent first-team run. He had been loaned out to SC Telstar, AZ’s feeder team the previous season and returned the following year. Edwin was desperate to leave Alkmaar after clashes with Gertjan Verbeek. He declined to extend his contract and after several clubless months he joined Eredivisie strugglers de Graafschap.
“The story about my contract not being extended is not true. I decided to leave the club because I had a clash with Gert Jan Verbeek [AZ Alkmaar coach],” Gyasi says. “When I didn’t extend my contract it hurt me a lot. I had played there for a very long time and my friends also played there but I had to do what was best for me. I had a lot of problems with Verbeek.’’
A few weeks ago, Edwin was removed from de Graafschap’s first team and demoted to the reserves. A run of good performances for the Graafschap meant Edwin had been catapulted into FC Twente’s thoughts, with the attacker impressing in a reserve game for de Graafschap by scoring a hat trick.
A second potential change in destiny has thereby occurred for Edwin who was playing for the ‘Superboeren’ on an amateur basis.On Wednesday, the 20 year old attacker signed a two year contract with FC Twente.
The 20-year-old spoke to Soccer in Ghana on a range of issues including his move to FC Twente, his ups and downs and his desire to represent Ghana.
I understand that FC Twente had been following for quite some time now. How true is that?
Edwin: Yes, it’s true.
So when Twente contacted you this week did you immediately think you had to sign for them?
Edwin:[Hmmm] not exactly. I had to think about it first because a lot of clubs wanted me to sign for them.
Will your former clubs (AZ and De Graafschap) benefit from your transfer to Twente?
Edwin: I don’t really know the arrangements made concerning the transfer.
How did De Graafschap react when they got to know you were moving to Enschede?
Edwin: They were sad I was leaving but very happy for me. They understood my situation.
What shirt number are you going to wear?
Edwin: Not yet known
Do you need time to settle?
Edwin: If I need time to settle? Yet to see
Were you already aware you would earn a living with football early on in your career?
Edwin: No, not really. Initially I never thought it was going to be this way. But thanks to my dad I realised that I could earn a living with football.
How did you feel when your contract with AZ wasn’t extended?
Edwin: The story about my contract not being extended is not true. I decided to leave the club because I had a clash with Gertjan Verbeek [AZ Alkmaar coach].
Did you have a feeling you were not going to progress at AZ? The club has one of the best academies in the world.
Edwin: When I didn’t extend my contract it hurt me a lot. I had played there for a very long time and my friends also played there but I had to do what was best for me. I had a lot of problems with Verbeek. Yes, their youth setup is very good.
Have you had low point(s) in your life?
Edwin: Not really. I think I was very disappointed when I decided to quit AZ.
Did you doubt your football abilities when everything seemed not to go your way?
Edwin: No. I have never really had doubts about my talent. My family and friends especially Hellen,Nicolas and my brother Raymond always encouraged me and told me not to give up.
You’re soft on the outside, but a very strong personality?
Edwin: Yes [He pauses] I’m very strong on the inside but I’ve developed mentally.
How important is religion to you?
Edwin: Religion is very important to me because I was brought up in a Christian home.
Do people recognize you when they see you outside?
Edwin: Yes almost everyone in Doetinchem knows me especially when I’m with my friend and teammate Ziguy Badibanga .
Have youexperiencedhypearound you before?
Edwin: Hmm yes especially when I decided to leave AZ. It was on most football websites in the Netherlands. No one seemed to understand why I did that. This time around a lot will be expected from me after my transfer to FC Twente .
Was this transfer easier than the one from AZ to De Graafschap in terms of decision making?
Edwin:Can’t really tell.
Do you still feel that you have the potential to reach the top?
Edwin:Yes I have a lot of potential and I can still get better. I know my qualities.
You have to fight for a spot in Twente’s starting XI with the likes of Ola John,Chadli and Bajrami. Are you scared?
Edwin: [He laughs]. I’ve never been afraid
Last year you said:‘My dream is to play for Manchester United. I wish to succeed Ryan Giggs’ What is your next dream?
Edwin:I wish to play alongside my brother [Raymond] at a big club and represent the Black Stars together. That would be fantastic.
Is it too early for a foreign league?
Edwin:Yes I’m only 20 years old.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Edwin:I would have won a lot of prizes with my team in 5 years time. I would also have won individual prizes and seen as one of the best Ghanaian footballers ever. No the best player in the world rather. [ He laughs].
It’s PSV vs. Heracles this Sunday. Who will lift the KNVB-beker ?
Do you have anything else you want to tell the readers of Soccer in Ghana?
Edwin: Yes. Never doubt yourself and always work hard because you might never know when your blessing will come.
One final question,what do you enjoy the most? scoring for your club or country?
Edwin: [He laughs]. Both
The time has surely arrived for Edwin’s talk to take place on the pitch.
Interview by Nana Abiri (@NOKA88)