Gyan steps back, Ghana still pays the penalty
Ghana and Asamoah Gyan had planned it differently this time, but
the result was still the same.
Penalties still haunted them Wednesday in a painful semifinal
loss to Burkina Faso in a shootout at the African Cup of
Gyan had chosen not to take penalties at this African Cup after
a string of crucial misses from the spot by the striker in recent
tournaments, including in the quarterfinals of the World Cup and
the Cup of Nations semifinals.
After his late mother asked him to give up penalty-taking duties
shortly before she died, he respected her wishes, stood back and
But the outcome was ultimately as painful for the captain as he
watched Isaac Vorsah, Emmanuel Clottey and Emmanuel Agyemang Badu
miss in the shootout as Ghana missed out on another African title
and extended its drought to at least 33 years.
”Definitely, we’ll be down right now but we’ll psyche ourselves
up,” Gyan said. ”As a captain, I have to go to the guys and
psyche them up.”
It was Gyan who needed consoling three years ago when he missed
a spot-kick in the dying seconds of extra time of a World Cup
quarterfinal that denied Ghana history as the first African team to
make the semifinals. Ghana went on to lose on penalties to
He also missed in the semifinals at the African Cup against
Zambia 12 months ago, when the Zambians went on to the final and
For 2013, Gyan had stepped down in favor of Wakaso Mubarak and
it had worked for the Ghanaians – even in the early stages of the
semifinal against Burkina Faso at Mbombela Stadium. Wakaso stroked
home a 13th-minute penalty, his third successful penalty of the
tournament, for an early lead for the Black Stars.
But it unraveled in another agonizing experience from the
penalty spot for the Ghanaians.
Vorsah scuffed his penalty badly, Clottey also hit his kick past
the left post and didn’t even test the goalkeeper, and Agyemang
Badu had his attempt saved by Daouda Diakite for the final,
Back near the halfway line, Gyan’s agony played out as he looked
on. Afterward, he was also forced to sit and listen – head in hands
– to Burkina Faso’s coach and captain talk about their victory as
the teams’ news conferences overlapped.
”We came here with a winning mentality,” Gyan said. ”We came
here to win this game to go to the final. We are really sad at the
moment. It’s normal. What else can I say?”