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24.02.2006 Football News

GFA moves to strengthen ties with Chelsea


Kumasi, Feb 24, GNA - The Ghana Football Association (GFA) will send a delegation to England next week to hold talks with officials of Chelsea Football Club to patch up the strained relations between the two bodies over the inability of Michael Essien to play for Ghana at the recent African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt. The move is to save the career of the Chelsea midfielder whose popularity among Ghanaians and respect had plummeted following what the fans perceived as Essien's unpatriotic attitude towards the national call.

Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi, President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) disclosed this at a press conference in Kumasi on Thursday. He said while in England, the delegation would hold talks with Chelsea on the possible release of Essien on time for national assignments in accordance with FIFA regulations.

The GFA President therefore called on Ghanaians to stop antagonizing the Ghanaian international since that could jeopardize his career and talent.

Mr Nyantakyi noted that following the crisis meeting that was held by stakeholders in Ghana football after the CAN 2006 in Egypt, the coach had been impressed upon to review his performance and remain focused to guide the Stars to the World Cup.

He refuted allegations that the coach was a player agent and stressed, "As far as the GFA is concerned, Dujkovic has no official FIFA license that mandates him to be an agent". The cordial relationship between the GFA and Chelsea was nearly marred as a result of Essien's inability to play for the Black Stars following an injury.

Even though the English champions sent an official medical report to the GFA in support of Essien's condition, many Ghanaians suspected foul play on the part of Chelsea.