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03.02.2006 Sports News

Press Release From Michael Essien

By Michael Essien

February 3, 2006 -- In the past eight years of my football career, I have not responded to media reports about me, but I am reacting this time because I have realised that my continued silence has led to the increase in allegations levelled against me in the run up to our country's participation at the African Nations Cup in Egypt.

As such, I want to make the following clarifications:

1. I have been committed to the national team of Ghana since I was a child and will forever be so in my playing days and beyond.

2. I played a major part in our country's qualification for our first World Cup and a Nations Cup appearance. Playing in those tournaments for which I fought for my country to qualify, has been a priority.

3. My playing for Ghana at the African Nations Cup in Egypt has never been in doubt until that career threatening tackle on me by Nigel Rio Coker of West Ham which you all saw on television, ruled me out of football for four weeks. You can remember that my club was even in the process of reaching an agreement with Ghana to delay my departure for the tournament similar to the accord reached by Cameroon over their Spain-based players Samuel Eto'o and Achille Webo.

4. I want to assure Ghanaians that I will return to action for our country in our friendly against Mexico on March 1. Even as I was out injured I was in constant touch with my national team colleagues in our training camp in Tunisia and Egypt during the tournament.

5. Thankfully true to what the doctors predicted I have resumed full-scale training, one-month after that injury, and I should be able to play any moment from now if I am called upon.

6. I have learnt some lessons during this period and henceforth I promise to connect more with the media to make my views known.

7. I have to say that I consider Coach Ratomir Dujkovic as my father and any difference in thought will be ironed out between us.

8. I want to thank Ghanaians for their support and prayers in these difficult times. I love Ghana very much, and therefore humbly plead that we all put our differences aside and focus our attention on our common goal of helping the Black Stars achieve great things at the World Cup in Germany.

Thank you.

Michael Essien