The Ghana captain said costly misses for his team had left him “psychologically down” and led him to take a break from international football.
Gyan missed a penalty in the dying minutes of extra time in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals against Uruguay, denying the Black Stars a chance to be the first African team to make the semi-finals.
“I lost my mum recently and the one thing she said two weeks before she died, she emphasised, was these penalty kicks,” he said. “I have to respect her decision for me not taking penalties for the team.
“That is why I took time off. Because I was psychologically down. I had to step back to psych myself and then come back to the team.”
Ghana have suffered a 30-year drought at the Nations Cup and, despite a team lacking big names such as Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and the Ayew brothers, they are certainly among tournament favourites.
Gyan said if it came to a penalty shoot-out, he would be willing to take a kick.
"When I have no option but to take it, why not?'' he said.'' A penalty shoot-out. That will be fine.”
Ghana are in Group B with DR Congo, Mali and Niger, and kick off their tournament against The Leopards on January 20.