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By NBF News
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Ghanaians are upbeat about the chances of their protégé, Asamoah Gyan, winning their first African Footballer of the Year award after 17years. Abedi Pele Ayew won the award in 1991, 1992 and 1993, with Michael Essien coming close in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, said he would be surprised if Gyan fails to win the award this time giving his contributions in the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola and 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

'Ghanaians are very hopeful and we at GFA think this is the year of Ghana having been nominated for three award categories,' Nyantakyi said.

Ghana is in the running for National team of the Year, while young star, Kwadwo Asamoah of Udinese has been nominated for Young Player of the Year.

Supporting his claims in favour of the Sunderland of England forward, Nyantakyi said: 'Looking at all three nominees, you'll agree with me that Gyan made the most contributions to African football this year. He carried a weak Ghana team on his shoulders to the finals in Angola, scoring four goals and at the World Cup; he was the outstanding African player.

'The others made no significant contribution to their national teams, while Gyan has done equally well for his club.' Popular television sports programme presenter, Yaw Ampofoar, described the mood in Ghana regarding the awards as 'exceptionally optimistic'. In his words: 'You know, after the many years of close call for Michael Essien, Ghanaians are now seeing a new opportunity in Gyan and there is no doubt that he has been highly successful this year more than any other African player.'

Ampofoar conceded that the other two nominees, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o won titles with their respective clubs in Europe, but added: 'When we look at the whole picture of performance, their contributions were not as significant as that of Gyan, who has lighted up Sunderland and carried a weak Ghana team very far in the Nations Cup and World Cup.'