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Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Ghana's Michael Essien returns to training

Michael Essien in action for Chelsea
Essien began his career at Liberty Professionals before moving to Europe

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has returned to full training with his club side Chelsea ahead of the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 27-year-old tore his hamstring in the Blues' 2-2 Champions League draw against Apeol Nicosia on 9 December.

Essien will arrive in Angola on Saturday accompanied by a Chelsea doctor, but is unlikely to play in Ghana's opener against Togo on Monday.

The Black Stars are already missing captain Stephen Appiah and John Mensah.

Coach Milovan Rajevac will also have to cope without the services of Fulham right-back John Pantsil and Hearts' midfielder Laryea Kingston after knee ligament and hamstring injuries respectively.

606: DEBATE
Saltneil

Serbian Rajevac and his squad arrived in Luanda from their pre-tournament camp in Nelspuit, South Africa on Thursday.

They will later head to Cabinda where the squad will based for their Group B matches.

Essien's return is a welcome boost as the former Lyon man previously spent six months on the sidelines after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in Ghana's defeat to Libya in September 2008.

After taking on Togo, Ghana will play a repeat of the third-place play-off from 2008 against Ivory Coast on 15 January before meeting Burkina Faso on 17 January.



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see also
Essien out for up to four weeks
09 Dec 09 |  Chelsea
Brother's death inspires Essien
08 Nov 09 |  African
Ghana welcome Essien's return
04 Mar 09 |  African


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