John Pantsil has urged Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan to put his FIFA World Cup™ penalty despair against Uruguay behind him or risk it having a long-term affect on his career.
Fulham defender Pantsil admits it was hard to try and console Gyan after he hit the crossbar with a spot-kick in the last seconds of extra time which would have taken Ghana into the semi-finals. Uruguay took full advantage of their reprieve, which came about after their striker Luis Suarez had handled on the line, to win 4-2 on spot-kicks and they will now face the Netherlands in the last four.
Pantsil said: "We said to Asamoah that anyone can miss a penalty and it is part of football and it was the only mistake he made. In fact, it was not a mistake at all. It is part of football and he kicked it from his heart and we all wanted to win the game. We have been talking to him. He is feeling bad about that. It is not easy just to forget about something like that.
"As his team-mates, we have to keep him with us and talk to him about it so he can forget about it as soon as possible. He is a young lad and, if he continues to think about it, it is going to affect him. We will make sure that he will get through this. He is a good fellow and very disciplined and always wants to win the game so we believe in him and we trust in him."
Pantsil believes the fact Gyan had the nerve to step forward and convert Ghana's first penalty in the shoot-out spoke volumes for his character. He said: "It shows his character. He did well to come back and put another one away in the end. That shows he will very soon forget about it. He has to."
Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi said: "Asamoah was inconsolable afterwards. He was down. We tried to psych him up. It is not easy to live with something such as this but he just has to try and live with it. The mood was sadness afterwards in the dressing room but we tried to tell them that is not the end of life."
Pantsil revealed the sadness of the whole squad after just failing to become the first African side to reach the semi-finals. He said: "Everyone was sad and crying, the mood was down, no-one was happy about what happened. We were so close to making it. We know we were doing it for all of Africa as well as Ghana. It is very sad for the country. It was very painful. This happens once in a lifetime but you have to let it go."