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14.02.2006 Diaspora News

Chelsea CEO To Meet High Commissioner

By Graphic

Chelsea's Chief Executive Officer, Peter Kenyon, is hoping that the fallout of the row involving Ghana and his club over Essien's inability to play for the Black Stars during the 2006 Nations Cup can be turned around to foster a healthier co-operation which would be more beneficial to Ghana.

Consequently, Mr Kenyon is expected to meet with Ghana's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr Isaac Osei, in London today to forge the way forward.

Sources close to the Ministry for Education and Sports said the scheduled meeting was expected to also save the career of the Ghanaian player who is reported to be going through some emotional problems since Ghanaians back home and abroad started lambasting him for his non-appearance at the Nations Cup.

“Since he became the subject of heated discussions which have put him at the receiving end, Essien has been going through a lot of psychological and emotional problems, and my concern is that, if nothing is done, it could ultimately affect his career,” a source close to Mr Kenyon told the Graphic.

Chelsea have already expressed their unhappiness over the way the issue has been handled and how the club and the player have been accused of over lying about his injury which ruled him out of competition for almost four weeks.

Beyond that, however, the club is said to be offering the olive branch and prepared to help Ghana improve upon its technical competence and also help in the medical area of the national teams.

A Ghanaian resident in London, Mr Frank Yao, who is acting as a liaison between the two sides, said there was no need crying over spilt milk with accusations and counter-accusations, but rather, find a way of building upon the positives from the fallout.

“At the moment, Essien is not a happy person and that could have an adverse effect on his career. When that happens, Ghana will be the loser and not Chelsea. They have money to get another player while it will take a while to get another in the mould of Essien, especially in the countdown to the World Cup,” a source close to Mr Yao said.

“Essien's injury was not feigned and it is very unfair that he be treated with such scorn with people trying to villify him when he played a no mean role in getting the Stars to the World Cup,” the source said in the player's defence.

He reiterated the player's commitment to the national team and insisted that perhaps his case was made worse because “ throughout, and typical of him, he kept to himself instead of opening up.

“In any case, he has learnt his lesson and Ghanaians must learn to forgive him for disappointing them and rather encourage him in these trying times so that he can get back to old form,” the source intimated.

Essien was left out of the Stars squad for Egypt 2006 for a reported injury while playing for Chelsea, but days after the Stars were eliminated at the group stages in perhaps their worse show at that level, Essien was back in action and was part of the team that beat Liverpool 2-0 in their match last week.

In reaction, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) last week officially wrote to Chelsea to seek further explanation over why they refused to release the player for the competition as stipulated by FIFA'S article 14 since the GFA was not satisfied with the explanation from Stamford Bridge.

However, it is not clear if a member of the GFA will be attending today's meeting between Mr Kenyon and Mr Osei in London.