Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says Michael Essien's emergence as a world star is important for Ghanaian football.
"Ghana should be proud not only because he is a great player but because of the way he behaves, in sport and in society," he said.
Such pride, the manager believed, could be turned to great benefit in inspiring the next generation of African talents.
"A lot of African players in Europe reach a high level, and they become icons for their people," Mourinho explained. "They are very proud, they understand their meaning for their countries. And they give back - that's their nature." He added that, in Essien's case, success in the Premiership had depended to a large extent on his adaptations with Lyon.
"When he came to England he already had four or five years of European football, social life and culture."