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Essien’s Return & The Accompanying Noise   
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Michael Essien has perhaps for the umpteenth time stirred the hornet’s nest for disclosing that he was ready for a return to the Black Stars after a rather long stay away from the side he last played for during the African Cup of Nations in Angola.

Tongues have again started wagging ‘blaya blaya’ relative to whether the player should be allowed to re-enter a team the particular school of thought contends strongly that the player had ‘abandoned.’

So do I ask a question in Nigerian parlance; ‘kini big deal?’ in other words, “What’s the fuss?” I ask for the simple reason that; the player - for the records - never said he was quitting the national team but that he wanted to take a temporal break from the Black Stars.

The player announced thus as far back as August 20, last year; after he picked up a niggling knee injury during Ghana’s group game against Ivory Coast in Angola, a tournament the team went as far as to the final bowing out to eventual champions, Egypt.

Sorry if I am beginning to sound like a broken record on my repeated position on Essien’s decision to temporarily retire; he has every right to do so without an explanation to anyone.

The next we heard of Essien was relative to his purported return to the Black Stars as was attributed to new coach Goran Stevenovic; who at the time expressed a high level of hope that the midfield dynamo would return to the squad.

Here was a player who retired under former coach, Milovan Rajevac, enter Goran, and the Serb wants to have Essien in his squad that has yet to lose a single game under his stewardship, my conclusion; it tells the undoubted qualities and sheer talent the player exudes plus his overall contribution to team effort.

Any and everybody is pardoned to hurl whatever vitriolic and invective they want at the man, in any case Essien, I can confidently state, is no stranger to all of that any way; whether or not his return is because of the end to his club season or for whatever reason that could be deduced, would the man be needed?

Hold on! That is unfortunately for the critics, within the domain of the coach on whose shoulders rest the Herculean task of choosing his personnel for any game, by extension speak against it, shout, scream, yell or protest Goran has the final say.

I would rather advice people look at the positive aspect of Essien’s announced return, a key positive point being the beefing-up of the current squad; a largely young and to some extent inexperienced side.

I could not agree more with ace sports journalist, Karl Truth Tuffuor, who stated in a radio interview that much as Essien’s return was key, the player should be ready to accept whatever role that Goran hands him; including the very spiky topic of sitting on the bench.

Hitherto ‘indispensable’ Black Stars players have in the past had to accept watching younger ones start ahead of them; Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Mathew Amoah and John Mensah are classic examples.

The biggest call in support of a return for Essien came from ex-skipper of the Black Stars, C.K Akunnor; who opined that not even Brazil would refuse to embrace a player as the Chelsea man, when he decides to return for the squad.

Debatable as his assertion may be, at least because Brazil’s soccer talent seems endless unlike that of Ghana who have at an opportunity gone chasing some Ghanaian born players, the message is; ESSIEN STILL REMAINS RELEVANT TO THE BLACK STARS.

He remains as I have stated time without number, Ghana’s biggest football export and but for injuries in recent times had been flying high the flag of Ghana even at club level with English Premier League side, Chelsea.

The things bandied around about the player good and bad would for a long time to come not change significantly anything about Essien and whether or not he returns to play for the Black Stars or any other Stars for that matter.
Source: Shaban Barani Alpha [email protected] [email protected]

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