Essien debate must be put to bed


first_imgThe will he, will he not play against England debate about Michael Essien has been settled once and for all.The Chelsea midfielder says he will not return to the Ghana squad in March after he was forced to issue a statement in response to earlier ones attributed to Black Stars coach Goran Stevanovic.The Serbian had told of how ‘moments’ earlier Essien had given him his word on a return to the Black Stars. He hailed it as a positive development for Ghana football because it will help Ghana deploy her best players.Stevanovic clearly looked to milk the maximum mileage from a mission accomplished. Like a negotiator tying to do a complicated deal, he was quick to declare success, wave the white handkerchief and say without uttering the words look how efficient I can be. Turns out it wasn’t so simple.That Essien was going to return to the Ghana squad one day has been known since the day he announced he was taking a temporary break. On a charity trip to Accra late last year barely weeks after GFA president Kwesi Nyantekyie had declared he will return in March, Essien made it a point to insist it was far from settled.His statement on his personal website seemed to be his way of putting the issue to bed once and for all. “I told him I will definitely return to the Ghana squad but we didn’t talk about dates and I didn’t tell him I was available to play in March,” Essien said on his personal website.“I am not sure where those stories came from. When I decided to take a break I knew some Ghanaians will be disappointed but I felt at the time it was the right decision after two horrible injuries. Hopefully when I come back into the Ghanaian team the break will be beneficial for the Ghana team and I.”He added: “I don’t want Ghanaians to believe these stories and then in March be disappointed that I am not in the team. I will definitely return to the team at some point in the future however it won’t be for the upcoming games. I haven’t told the coach or anyone else that.”It is uncertain if Stevanovic will still go ahead with the planned meeting with Essien. Every Ghanaian hoping that the national coach makes a case for pride of the shirt will be hoping our Serbian boss simply carries on with life.Essien is a brilliant player and make no mistake about that. Yet persisting with this, attempting to cajole and convince is spending too much time on one person potentially to the point where it could hurt the feelings of others. It is admirable that Stevanovic is keen to get the best players Ghana can call up available. But it is even more important that he does not create classes within the squad. Flying to Milan to talk Sulley Muntari into a comeback after all the problems gave the impression of a special player.The Essien chase if it continues will suggest a lack of belief in the others. In going all the way to the Nations Cup final and the world cup last eight, the message was clear. This time is not reliant on one man; it can thrive without the star names.Essien himself admits that is fair comment. When he is happy and content at Chelsea, and has enough time to spare for the national team he himself admits he won’t be an automatic pick.For now Stevanovic must concentrate on those like Anthony Annan who continue to break their back for Ghana, on players like Prince Buabeng who has been consistent without getting a look in and on someone like Emmanuel Frimpong at Arsenal who is prepared in his words to ride his own bicycle and come and play for Ghana.He must make a statement for our national pride and let Essien concentrate on his club duties. He must make a statement on his belief in the quality and commitment of those who still care to play and concentrate on those he will have in the immediate future and not those waiting to pick a convenient date for a return. Source: Michael Oti Adjei/Kickoff.comlast_img

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