Officials of English Premier League side, Chelsea FC on Friday formally informed the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Awards sponsors, Globacom Limited that the duo of Michael Essien and Didier Drogba has been released to attend the 2006 Glo-CAF Awards ceremony in Accra.
Drogba, the Ivorien star and his team-mate, Essien of Ghana are among the top three African players in contention for the prestigious Glo-CAF Player of the Year award holding on March 1, 2007.
Suleiman Habuba, CAF Director who was in London with Mike Ituemagbor, consultant to Globacom, revealed that the players were released vide a letter signed by the Secretary of the London club on Friday, February 23.
Suleiman said the release of the players was sequel to series of meetings initiated by Mr. Itemuagbor following initial refusal of the club management to let the stars attend the ceremony.
However, Itemuagbor, the Chief Executive Officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, attributed the breakthrough to the support of Dr.Mike Adenuga, whom he said was very accommodating of the conditions set forth by Chelsea club officials.
On the initial difficulties to secure the release of the players, Itemuagbor remarked, “You know the season both in England and Europe has reached crucial stages and we are talking about two players who have between them helped the fortunes of the club in all competitions.
But Dr. Adenuga, the Chairman of Globacom said he was willing to please the club by making available the private jet to fly in the players from London and back… that was the leverage we had in the discussions”.
Habuba disclosed that the players will arrive in Ghana on Wednesday, February 28 with club's Communications Director. He also said efforts are still being made to secure the release of Samuel Eto'O of Barcelona.
“Globacom has been very committed to ensuring that for the first time, all three nominees will attend the ceremony and this is quite commendable because it will set the tone for future ceremonies. We are very pleased with the development and wish to commend Globacom”, Habuba stated.