By Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
ONE Ghanaian soccer legend in the early 60’s who continues to be a living testimony and an inspiration to his peers and the present generation in both football and other life endeavours is Mr Joseph Agyeman-Gyau a former Black Stars player from 1960 to 1968.
Mr Agyeman-Gyau, now a traditional ruler who was enstooled on May 24, 1999, as the Akrofrohene of the Berekum Traditional Area, in the Brong Ahafo Region, under the stool name of Nana Kwasi Gyau Gyan III and popularly known as Agyeman-Gyau, in football circles, has stated that it is by dint of hard work, patience, dedication, discipline, humbility and the fear of God that one will achieve real success in life.
Nana Gyau Gyan III, who is also a consultant and holds an Executive Masters degree in General Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States of America (USA), made the statement when this reporter called on him to find out what has been the secret behind his success during his days as a player, and now as a businessman par excellence and a traditional ruler.
The former Black Stars player further mentioned that the youth must learn the usefulness of natural laws and take their time in life if they want to succeed.
Nana Gyan III who now owns the Farmer’s Supermarket at the ground floor of the Cocoa House, in Sunyani, reputed to be one of the most popular supermarkets in the municipality has urged Ghanaians to come out with their best in whatever they undertake to do.
He noted that there were a lot of talented players in the country, but they do not take their time to harness their potentials and cited some players such as Awudu Issaka, Alex Opoku and other stars, who after rising to fame at the youth level, did not take their time, but rushed into professional soccer and asked, “where are they now?
Nana Gyan III currently the Chairman of the Retired National Footballers Association of Ghana (RENFAG) said he was a member/player of the Real Republicans Football Club from 1962 to 196 and served as a player, captain and coach of the Brong Ahafo (BA) United Football Club referred to as the Apostles of Power Soccer from 1960 to 1968.
The former national star said after playing for the local side, he decided to go professional and found himself with the Washington Whips Professional Soccer Team, USA from 1968 to 1969 when he joined the Washington Diplomats/Darts Professional Soccer Team from 1970 to 1973.
He was also with the Baltimore Bays Professional Soccer Team from 1974 to 1975 when he became a member and a referee for the Washington Metropolitan Soccer Referees Association from 1979 to 1987.
Nana Gyau Gyan III, explained that apart from playing soccer he had time for his education and according to him he attended the St. Patrick’s Catholic School, Sunyani from 1950 to 1954 where he obtained the Middle School Leaving Certificate.
He did not rest on his laurels but furthered his education by obtaining a diploma in basic accounting from the Institute of Commerce, Dublin, Ireland and the Universal Academy, Sunyani in 1963.
Nana Gyan III got another diploma from the Lear Siegler Institute of Computers, Silver Spring, USA. The soft-spoken Atipimhene said while pursuing his professional football career, he went on to obtain a High School diploma from the Armstrong Adult High School, Washington DC from 1970 to 1973, a diploma in Bank Management, diploma (Advance Level Graduate), basic and intermediate certificate at the AIB Washington, DC from 1970 to 1976.
He took other courses culminating in the award of a master’s degree in 1985.
Apart from playing football, he had worked with the Public works Department (PWD), Sunyani as a Book-Keeper/Typist from 1959 to 1962, and Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) Sunyani as Deputy Regional Accountant from 1963 to 1968, Reliable Delivery Service, Landover Maryland, USA as a computer operator from 1969-1970, National Savings and Trust (Crestar Bank), Washington DC as Head Note Teller from 1970 to 1973, United National Bank of Washington, DC as Vice President from 1973 to 1978, Universal Bank of Maryland, Glenarden Maryland USA as President/Chief Executive Officer from 1978 to 1987 and the President of Gyampech/STBA-International Business and Financial Management Company, New York from 1993 till date.
Nana Gyau Gyan has also served on several boards both local and international and mentioned some as member of the Board of Directors, National Investment Bank, Board of Directors, National Bankers Association, Washington DC, Mayor’s Advisory on Economic Development, Glenarden, Maryland, USA among others.
A devout catholic, Nana Gyau Gyan III also sought to develop his spiritual life and played an active role in the Catholic Church as a chorister from 1949 to 1954, Church President, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Fiapre-Sunyani from 1994 to 1997, member, Finance Council, Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, member, National Planning Committee, Catholic University College of Ghana, Fiapre, Worthy President, Knight of St. John International, Commandery, 393 from 1997 to 1999 and Grand Board Member, Cape Coast Grand Commandery, Knights of St. John International, 1999 to present.
Nana Gyau Gyan during his soccer career won many awards such as the Sportsman of the Year (Ghana) in 1962, played in the Africa Cup in 1963, 1965 and 1967, played in the Olympic Games and the World Cup Qualifying series all in 1964.
The former Black Star player was decorated with the Order of the Volta (Member) State National Award, Public Service and Traditional Ruling by President J A Kufuor on July 2007 and crowned a National Sports Hero in 2006, by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and had Apostolic Blessings from His Holiness John Paul II.
Nana Gyau Gyan was born in Sunyani, the capital of Brong Ahafo Region on June 3, 1936.
He is married to Mrs Mary Agyeman Gyau and they have four children made up of two boys and two girls.