Essien sets Ghana comeback date

12 years ago

Michael Essien has decided to return for Ghana again after a one-year absence, the midfielder announced on Sunday.

The Chelsea player had temporarily put his international career on hold last year after suffering injuries while playing for the Black Stars.

Injuries forced Essien out of the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola and then the World Cup in South Africa.

But after enjoying a long run of form with Chelsea, Essien says he is ready for Ghana's next game in June, a 2012 African Nations Cup qualifier.

“I am fully ready to return to the Black Stars for our next Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo,” Essien told BBC Sport.

“After the two serious injuries I asked permission from the Ghana FA to excuse me from Black Stars duties to allow me to fully recover.

“They understood my situation and granted my request because of the injuries I had.

“I really want to help my country to qualify for the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations so I am ready to join my colleagues to help the country to qualify.”

Essien dismissed suggestions that he had sought to retire from international football following his long absence from the Ghana team.

“I still have a lot to offer my country and it never crossed my mind to retire from the national team,” Essien said.

“I have never ever said anything like that before. I love my country and I have a lot to give back.”

Essien has not played for Ghana since a forty-five minute appearance at the 2010 Nations Cup.

The Black Stars will play Congo on 6 June in Group I of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.