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Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Sunday, 12 August 2007 11:43 UK

Essien seeks Nations Cup switch

Ghana and Chelsea's Michael Essien
Michael Essien was voted the 2006 BBC African Footballer of the Year

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has called for a rethink on the timing of the African Cup of Nations.

Chelsea are braced to lose Essien, Didier Drogba, Mikel John Obi and Salomon Kalou for up to a month during next January's tournament in Ghana.

And Essien thinks that switching it to start at the end of the European season would have the support of players.

"If they can change it would be good for us players and it would be good the clubs too," said Essien.

"You have to leave in January, which is a difficult month for the club, but you have to go and help your country. If they can change it would be good for us."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has planned for the loss of his African players as the Blues look to win the title back from Manchester United.

Mourinho has signed the likes of Tal Ben Haim, Claudio Pizarro and Steve Sidwell over the summer.

"I think the new players here are really very good, they fit in really well," added Essien.

"I think we have good players to fit in whilst we are away, so I don't think it will be a problem. I hope not."

see also
Mourinho wants Nations Cup deal
02 Jun 07 |  African
Chelsea put freeze on Africans
06 Jul 07 |  African
Essien picks up BBC gong
04 Jun 07 |  African

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