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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Sunday, 8 November 2009

Brother's death inspires Essien

Michael Essien in action for Ghana
Michael Essien is setting up a charity in Ghana, in memory of his late brother

Chelsea star Michael Essien has told the BBC how his brother's death inspired him to set up a charity in his native Ghana.

The Michael Essien Foundation will be launched on 14 November, just before Ghana's final 2010 qualifying match.

"Hopefully I can do something to help the village where I grew up," he told the BBC World Service.

"It's about 30 minutes outside Accra, where I grew up with my four sisters and my Mum.

"The most important thing for me to set up this foundation was my late brother," Essien said.

"I never got the chance to meet him before he died but I learned later he died when looking for water for the family to live by.

"So that's why I came up with this foundation to help the communities, develop the amenities and give them opportunities to do something."

The charity will be launched at Ghana's State House in Accra, with guests ranging from the country's Vice-President to the former World Footballer of the Year George Weah.

Essien and some of his Ghana team-mates will also be there, a day before they meet Mali in the last game of Africa's marathon road to South Africa 2010.

The Black Stars secured their place in South Africa some time ago and Essien says he's hoping to help them go a long way at the global showpiece next year.

Michael Essien celebrates with Ghana
The Chelsea midfielder is a key part of Ghana's national side

He missed their last game at a World Cup finals, the defeat against Brazil in Germany 2006, because of suspension.

"To me it was one of the biggest games of my life but that's football, you have to accept it and move forward," he told the BBC.

"I'm looking forward to another great tournament next year so hopefully I can play all the games and see what happens."

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see also
Can Ghana create history?
09 Oct 09 |  Football
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Ghana qualify for 2010 World Cup
06 Sep 09 |  African
Essien admits to Ghana pressure
26 Mar 09 |  African
Ghana welcome Essien's return
04 Mar 09 |  African
Injured Essien faces long lay-off
09 Sep 08 |  Chelsea
Ghanaians proud after Brazil loss
28 Jun 06 |  Africa

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