Ghana’s hopes of winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations suffered a huge blow as it has emerged that injured key player Michael Essien will be unavailable for the tournament.
The Chelsea player was ruled out of action for six months this week after undergoing an operation on his right knee. This means Essien will only return to training by the middle of January next year. With the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations starting from January 21 – February 12, it means Essien will not be fully fit for the tournament.
The Black Stars could seal their place in the tournament by September if they beat Swaziland in Ghana and other results go their way.
Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic recalled the player to the Black Stars in March and said Essien will be key in Ghana’s future matches.
But Essien will not be available for the first major tournament for the Serbian coach as he will be on the sidelines for up to six months. “The surgery was successful and Michael’s full recovery could take up to six months,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said.
Essien’s injury problems started while playing for Ghana in a World Cup qualifier against Libya three years ago.
On that occasion he landed awkwardly during the match and was subsequently told he faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines. He was ruled out for more than six months in 2008 when he sustained cruciate ligament damage.
He also missed the 2010 World Cup because of a knee problem.
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