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Soccer News of Friday, 30 July 2004

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Essien Dropped From Olympic Squad

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Mariano Barreto has dropped Olympique Lyon?s Michael Essien together with five other players from his final list of 22 players selected for the Athens Olympic games.

The national coach on Thursday named his 22-man squad to represent Ghana leaving out the Lyon midfielder, Anthony Obodai of Ajax, Maccabi Tel Aviv?s Ishmael Addo, Saliu Muntari (Sekondi Hasaacas), Shaibu Yakubu and goalkeeper Isaac Amoako, both of AshantiGold.

Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah, Baffour Gyan and William Tierro are the three over aged players called up by coach Mariano Barreto for the Athens assignment.

Stephen Appiah is expected to join his colleagues on Saturday.

The Black Meteors play their first game against The Azzurini of Italy in Volos.

The Black Meteors on Thursday beat Portuguese first division side, Estrela da Amadora 2-1 with Kojo Poku and Baffour Gyan scoring both goals for Ghana.

Ghana?s 22-man squad for the competition -

Goalkeepers: George Owoo and Mohammed Alhassan (both Asante Kotoko)

Defenders: John Mensah (Modena, Italy) Emmanuel Pappoe (Moadon Sport Ashdod, Israel), John Paintsil (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Dan Coleman (Hearts of Oak) Emmanuel Osei (Sumsupor, Turkey) Patrick Villars (SK Bucheon, South Korea).

Midfielders: Yusif Chibsah, Charles Taylor, William Tierro (all Asante Kotoko) Abubakar Yahuza (King Faisal) Lamine Nassir ( AshantiGold) Stephen Appiah (Juventus, Italy) Sulley Muntari (Udinese, Italy) Razak Ibrahim (Empoli) Derek Boateng (AIK Stockholm, Sweden).

Strikers: Baffour Gyan (Slovan Liberec, Czech) Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Italy) Isaac Boakye (Arminia Bielefeld, Germany) Kwadwo Poku (Midtjyland, Denmark) Razak Pimpong (Midtjyland, Denmark).

Essien Opted Out Of Olympic Squad

The exclusion of Olympique Lyon midfielder, Michael Essien, from the Black Meteors squad for the Athens Olympic games raised concerns among soccer fans.

But JoySports can confirm that the French-based player opted out of the Olympic football tournament to enable him to feature for the senior national team, the Black Stars, in the 2006 World Cup games.

JoySports enquiries indicate that Lyon impressed on the national player to choose between making an appearance for Ghana at the Athens games or upcoming senior national team games.

The French club believes Essien?s absence during thee Olympics would derail its league title defence when the French Championant kicks off in August.

Michael Essien is reported to have decided to opt out of the Olympic event and rather make himself available for Ghana?s World Cup games.

Michael Essien was left of the 22-man Black Meteors squad alongside five other players- Anthony Obodai of Ajax, Maccabi Tel Aviv?s Ishmael Addo, Saliu Muntari of Sekondi Hasaacas, Shaibu Yakubu and goalkeeper Isaac Amoako, both of Ashanti Gold- after two weeks of training in Portugal.

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