Soccer News of Friday, 27 September 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
Chelsea midfielder, Michael Essien, has suddenly become the Black Stars’ pivot, while veteran Richard Kingson looks good for a long-awaited comeback as Coach Kwasi Appiah rallies round to parade the best players available to secure the badly-needed Brazil 2014 World Cup ticket at the expense of Egypt.
The two forgotten heroes seem to be winning the hearts of the Stars coach and some top FA chiefs with their sterling performances of late as the October 15 World Cup playoff first leg in Kumasi draws near.
Following a long lay-off for both club and country, Essien finally warmed himself into the hearts of Ghanaians and the Stars’ technical team, especially with a plucky second half performance against Zambia’s Chipolopolo on September 6, followed by a captain’s game which secured Chelsea a Capital One Cup victory over Swindon last Tuesday.
Those convincing displays by the midfield general have left Coach Appiah upbeat about the crucial role he could play in the Stars’ crucial World Cup tie with Egypt as he globe-trots in a frantic bid to assemble a formidable squad to book a flight to Brazil.
“Michael, for me, has always been a good player. I have always had confidence in him. The good thing about him is his attitude, not only on the pitch but off the pitch is fantastic,” Kwasi Appiah told GFA’s website [ghanafa.org] in an interview.
“To have him in the team again makes me one of the happiest. As for his performance, I know he can do much better than he did against Zambia. He is an exceptional player and I have always said Essien is a player every coach will love to have in his team.”
In a related development, the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi, dropped a strong hint of goalkeeper Kingson’s possible return to the Stars’ fold following his good form for Doxa in the top flight league in Cyprus.
"Why was Richard (Kingson) dropped from the Black Stars? It was because he became clubless," Nyantakyi told Accra-based Joy FM.
"If he is now playing, it means that there is every opportunity for him to come back provided he is playing and playing well.
"For such a veteran goalkeeper, I believe if he is indeed playing well, he will get the chance to come back into the team. It will be a big boost to the team's chances of qualifying for the World Cup.
"With Richard Kingson, you can go and sleep. If he is in good form, he is the safest pair of hands in the country," Nyantakyi vouched.
Kingson, 35, was key in Ghana’s two FIFA World Cup success stories in 2006 and 2010 but lost his place in the Stars squad after his contract with then English Premier League side Blackpool expired two seasons ago.