Asamoah Gyan won’t take penalties because his deceased mother told him not to

Dirty Tackle

Gyan discovered you're not allowed to throw the ball between your legs (Getty)

The 29th Africa Cup of Nations is just a few days away, and reigning underdog champs Zambia will try to fend off the likes of Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.

The hotly tipped Ghana side will be led from the front by captain Asamoah Gyan, but you probably won't see the former Sunderland and Udinese striker stepping up from 12 yards if the Black Stars are awarded a penalty.

It's not because of a serious case of the yips, but because his late mother told him not to. From the BBC:

"I have decided not to take a penalty for the national team," [Gyan] said.

"[...] I said some months back that I wouldn't take another penalty. Before my Mum died [in November] she told me not to take penalties any more."

Why would his deceased mother show such a lack of maternal belief in her son? Well, Gyan missed an extra-time spot kick in Ghana's 2010 World Cup quarter-final with Uruguay, which would have made the Black Stars the first ever African side to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

Furthermore, in last year's Nations Cup, Gyan also missed a pen in Ghana's semi-final with Zambia, who went on to beat the Ivory Coast in the final.

However, the 27-year-old may be forced to step up if (or when) Ghana reach the knockout stages, as AFCON games have a tendency to go to penalty shoot-outs. Four of the last seven finals have been decided by penalties. In 1992, Ghana lost the final to the Ivory Coast by a painfully long 11-10 shoot-out — every player on the field had to have a go in that one.