Sports News of Thursday, 6 July 2017
Asamoah Gyan played his first penalty in five years for the Black Stars because he wanted to prove to critics he is that good.
The captain is back in the headlines not for scoring a stupendous free kick but coming out of his self-imposed penalty exile to miss in the 2-1 reverse against USA over the weekend.
Gyan had promised his late mother not take spot kicks for the senior national team after being subjected to public ridicule and backlash following back to back miss in two years.
The unattached striker squandered perhaps Africa’s best ever opportunity of reaching the World Cup semis when he missed from the spot in the last minute of extra-time of Ghana’s quarter-final clash against Uruguay in 2010.
Two years later, Gyan missed penalty in the semi-finals against Zambia at AFCON proved costly as the Black Stars failed to reach the final.
Apparently, some football fans marched to the residence of his mother to announce their displeasure while Gyan himself became the number one enemy as fans took him on radio programs and social media platforms.
“No, I will no longer take penalty kicks for Ghana; my mother advised me not to take penalties again.
“And now that she is gone, I will like take this advice.”
Carrying on his promise, Gyan came off in the dying embers of extra time of Ghana’s 2015 AFCON final against Ivory Coast, knowing he could be involved in the penalty shootout.
Rightly so, the shootout travelled with all eleven players taking part with the Ivorian’s eventually winning.
However, on Saturday, when Acheampong was fouled and referee pointed to the spot, Ghanaians at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field and at home watching were shocked when Asamoah Gyan picked the ball to effect the kick.
‘’Honestly, I was not the one to kick the penalty but I just decided to shoot it.’’
‘’I wanted to break that jinx around me but unfortunately, it did not happen but am a man I needed to step up. Those who don’t step up are not recognized’’
Asked if he would continue taking penalties for the team, Gyan responded ‘’I cannot guarantee but I am focused on working hard for the nation’’