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Sports Features of Saturday, 10 November 2012


"Michael Essien has a psychological problem"

President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi, says Michael Essien has a psychological problem with playing for the national team after his decision to skip the 2013 African Nations Cup in South Africa.

Essien, 29, has hit the road running again after making a loan switch to Real Madrid from Chelsea this season but says he is not yet to ready for the rigorous of international football.

Essien has bad memories of playing with the Black Stars after twice sustaining cruciate ligament injuries in a world cup qualifier against Libya in 2009 and at the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola.

Speaking to the Ghanaian media at press briefing in the GFA, Kwesi Nyantakyi said Michael Essien is yet to fully recover from the psychological trauma of his previous injuries.

“I think that Michael Essien has a psychological problem and needs to be encouraged. On the two occasions that Michael got injured, the most serious injuries in his life: one was a cruciate ligament injury in Libya and another cruciate ligament tear in Angola, all occurred with the national team,” he said.

“Sometimes when these players come, they complain about pitches in Africa, they complain about the risk in playing and so forth. So I think that he may be a bit apprehensive in coming back. We need to gradually tune his mind back.”

“And at another time we realised that he had difficulty commanding first team selection in Chelsea. All these are challenges that can come the way of any of us. When I think about the national interest, I think he also needs to be given the benefit of the doubt.”

Meanwhile, the GFA President also confirmed to that bereaved Asamoah Gyan will not be part of the Ghana squad to face Cape Verde in an international friendly game next week.

The player is due to arrive in the country on Friday, 9th November and is expected to remain with his family for the One week celebration of his mother’s death, which falls on Tuesday 13th November 2012.