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Date: 14 December 2018

  Zimbabwean - Soccer

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Essien on Ghana sabbatical

[Posted 05 Sep 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Essien has requested some time off from national duty with Ghana

Ghana's Michael Essien has decided to take some time off national duty with the Black stars for purposes of getting back to his usual form and consolidating his place in the Chelsea team.

The Chelsea midfielder first discussed the matter with the Black Stars national team coach Milovan Rajevac before the Serbian made the announcement recently.

Rajevac told the BBC that Essien made the request to be excused from national duty so he can concentrate on his club career for now.

"He contacted me and wanted to ask for permission to be excused for a while," Rajevac told journalists in Johannesburg on his way to Swaziland for Sunday's Group qualifier.

"I understood his thoughts and of course I wanted to help him to get into his old form, to start playing regularly and I gave that permission," Rajevac added.

Essien was seriously injured twice while on national duty with Ghana, and Chelsea has had to foot the bill for his rehabilitation each time he returned to the club injured.

It can only make sense that the talented midfielder gives his club which puts food on his table, his first priority as he returns from a career-threatening injury.

Essien's decision to go on national team sabbatical has received wide-spread criticism across the continent of Africa. The criticism appears to be without understanding of what Essien's real reasons for time-off are.

The player did not just turn his back on his motherland. He requested for permission to be given some time off from the coach Rajevac, and the permission was granted. Secondly, national teams rarely foot the medical bills of players even when they are injured on national duty.

Essien's bread is buttered at Chelsea, but he has an obligation to represent his country of birth per FIFA regulations. However, given the tricky situation the player finds himself in, it can only be fair that he is not rushed back into national duty.

Every time Ghana called him for national duty fresh from an injury, Essien has found himself back in the injury room. Essien is the kind of player who plays with passion and commitment, whether he is turning out for his club or country, making him more susceptible to fresh injuries.

Rushing Essien into national duty will be unfair to Chelsea, if he is to return injured for the third time. The player needs to be commended for choosing to take a sabbatical, rather than having Chelsea making demands on him to give the club value first before his national team upon his latest return from injury.

Essien missed the much of the Africa Cup of nations finals and the World Cup this year due to injury suffered while on national duty with the Black Stars.

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