Ghana fans make Gyan scapegoat for Zambia loss
Posted Thursday, February 9 2012 at 13:00
Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan exited the Africa Cup of Nations as public enemy number one among some Black Stars' supporters after Wednesday's quarter-final loss to Zambia.
The Sunderland forward, on-loan to Al-Ain, was on the receiving end of vitriolic abuse on social networking site twitter from Ghana fans who held him solely responsible for their team's shock 1-0 demise.
Overlooking Gyan's contribution in getting Ghana into the last four they honed in on his first-half penalty miss.
Awarded for a foul on Kwadwo Asamoah by Davies Nkausu, Gyan's tame spot kick was saved by Zambia keeper Kennedy Mweene who, guessing correctly, dived to his left and pushed the ball away with his left hand.
Gyan, whose three goals were instrumental in Ghana reaching the 2010 Nations Cup final, was not at his sharpest and shot timidly at Mweene soon after when put through by Andre Ayew.
Gyan also missed a last minute penalty in the final minute of Ghana's World Cup quarter-final against Uruguay, a fact that did not escape Black Stars' twitter users.
Among the milder messages posted by disgruntled fans were: "Please I beg! Don’t take any more penalty shootings. Thank you @ASAMOAH_GYAN" and "I tried to defend @ASAMOAH_GYAN from the time he missed in the WC but this is too much you should retire from the team."
Another read: "You let your country down again @ASAMOAH_GYAN"
This was an embarrassing end to a competition in which after conjuring up a superb goal from a freekick against Mali in the first round he had described himself as "a great striker".
The under-fire forward received support from his team captain, John Mensah.
The Ghana defender said: "I spoke to Gyan after the game. We all know that it can happen to anyone to miss a penalty. I told him to concentrate on our next match (Saturday's third place play-off with Mali)."
Mensah said the mood in the Ghana camp was one of sadness.
"It's tough to think of playing for third place, first we have to digest this game. We all wanted to make it to the final and win the title. Everyone is very sad, but I have to pick the players up and prepare for Saturday."
Ghana's assistant coach Akwasi Appiah also lent his support to Gyan, saying: "It's almost always the best players who miss penalties."
Gyan could also seek solace from Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Panthers' top scorer failed to convert his spot-kick in the 5-4 penalty shoot-out loss to Mali in the quarter-finals.