Asamoah Gyan, the Al Ain striker, apologised to his country yesterday for taking a break from international football but said he needed time away to recover from missing another crucial penalty for Ghana at a major tournament.
The 26 year old, whose decision to temporarily stop playing for Ghana was announced over the weekend, told the South African website supersport.com that the break would help him "come back bigger and mentally stronger".
Gyan had an early penalty saved in Ghana's semi-final loss to the eventual champions Zambia at the recent African Cup of Nations, a second crucial mistake from the spot by the forward after his last-second miss against Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
That error two years ago, when his penalty hit the crossbar in the last action of regular play, denied Ghana a piece of history as the first African team to make the last four of a World Cup.
The Black Stars went on to lose to Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out, while they went down 1-0 to the Zambians following Gyan's miss this month.
"As you can imagine, it's been very hard for me mentally to miss two important successive penalties for my country," Gyan said. "I never fully recovered from [the] 2010 World Cup and now [the] 2012 Afcon [African Cup of Nations].
"I want my country to know I love playing for them and I wouldn't be who I am without them. So they should give me some time to get myself back together."
Gyan asked for support from Ghanaians after the country's football association said on Saturday that the verbal abuse he had received from fans at home following the African Cup disappointment prompted his decision to step down from international duty.
He was so keen to flee Africa after the tournament he chartered a plane to fly to Al Ain so he could play in their game against Dubai last week.
The Ghana Football Association added it was in talks with the striker to urge him to reconsider but yesterday's comments suggested Gyan's mind was made up.
"I never intended to make a decision like this early on in my career, [but] psychologically I am down," he said.
"A break to recoup my thoughts and emotions will aid me to come back bigger and mentally stronger."
Gyan has not said how long he intends to be away from international football.