Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan says his decision to lead the penalty shootout after missing the crucial one in the final minute of extra-time against Uruguay convinced then Sunderland manager Steve Bruce to sign him for the Black Cats.
Sunderland broke their transfer record to sign Asamoah Gyan from Rennes for a fee "in excess of £13m" in 2010 due to his ‘’mental toughness’’
The saddest day in the country’s football history? Of course, as it turned out that the senior national team, Black Stars, had missed Africa’s best ever chance of reaching the semi-final of FIFA World Cup on African soil.
Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai did not hesitate to point to the spot and reduce Uruguay to 10-men after Barcelona star Luis Suarez stopped a goal-bound effort from Dominic Adiyiah with his hand.
The FNB stadium erupted as Asamoah Gyan – then top scorer with three goals of which two were scored via the spot kick – elected himself to take the all-important kick, but Gyan shockingly hit the bar.
He was brave enough to take and score Ghana's first penalty in the shoot-out, but to no avail as the South Americans progressed and eventually finished fourth.
And according to Gyan, to bounce back within minutes of that torture and take another penalty was why the Sunderland gave him the opportunity to play in arguably the best league in the world.
“Steve Bruce, the manager of Sunderland called me and told me that he signed me because of my mental toughness,” Gyan said in an exclusive interview on Joy FM.
Gyan made 34 appearances for Sunderland and scored 10 goals, including one on his debut against Wigan Athletic and another in Sunderland's 3–0 victory at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
He left on loan but later signed a five years contract with United Arab Emirates side Al Ain in 2011 amid speculation of a fee of up to £6 million being paid with Gyan receiving up to four times his previous salary.
Gyan, who became the first Ghanaian 50 goals for the Black Stars last Sunday, now features for Al Ain’s bitter rivals Al Ahli, on loan from Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG.