They say it take great courage to step up and take a penalty in a cup final or a game vital to your team. There is no doubt it takes nerves of steel and extreme confidence. No one should be criticised for putting their hand up to take such a vital kick. Yet many are criticised for missing.
Some are sadly more remembered for missing one penalty than the rest of their career, Roberto Baggio, Gareth Southgate and Chris Waddle to name a few; Although with Waddle his perm would be a close run second.
A new name can be added to the list that of Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan. Gyan missed a crucial last minute penalty in Ghana’s quarter final against Uruguay, a penalty that had he converted would have seen the African nation progress to the last four. The first time any African nation would have gone so far in the tournament. Instead his miss gave him a record as the first player two miss two penalties in two consecutive World Cup Finals.
To make matters worse Gyan missed again in the semi final of the Cup of African Nations against eventual winners Zambia. The central African nation ended up winning 1-0 while many people’s favourites Ghana headed home.
Gyan, has now written to the Ghanaian Football Association announcing he wishes to take an “indefinite break” from international football as a result of the abuse he has had to suffer since that miss via social media. It is undoubtedly a great shame that such a prolific striker at international level, 28 goals in 59 games should feel he is left with no other course of action.
Emotions run deep in Africa when it comes to football, and one has to admire the courage Gyan showed by stepping up to take that vital penalty. He obviously never intended to miss it, and no doubt hoped to atone for South Africa two years ago, but he didn’t. Now his vilification has cost Ghana a proven goalscorer and a man his international career. Should we not try to remember as painful as defeat is, it is still just a game?