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Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Sunday, 8 May 2011 22:37 UK

Chelsea ace Michael Essien announces Ghana comeback

By Ibrahim Sannie
BBC Sport

Michael Essien in action for Chelsea
Essien is a regular for Chelsea but has not played for Ghana for a year

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has announced his return to the national team after a one-year absence.

The Chelsea player temporarily put his Black Stars career on hold after suffering two serious injuries.

But after regaining his form with Chelsea, Essien says he is available for selection for Ghana's next game.

"I am fully ready to return to the Black Stars for our next Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo in June," Essien told BBC Sport.

"After the two serious injuries I suffered while playing for my country, I asked permission from the Ghana FA to excuse me from Black Stars duties to allow me to fully recover.

"They understood my situation and granted my request because of the injuries I had.

"I really want to help my country to qualify for the next year's Africa Cup of Nations so I am ready to join my colleagues to help the country to qualify."

Essien's absence from the national team had led some to speculate that he was contemplating retiring from the Black Stars - a suggestion he emphatically denied.

"I still have a lot to offer my country and it never crossed my mind to retire from the national team," insisted Essien.

"I have never ever said anything like that before. I love my country and I have a lot to give back."

The injury forced him out of the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola and then the World Cup in South Africa.

Essien has not played for Ghana since a 45-minute appearance at the 2010 Nations Cup.

The Black Stars will play Congo on 6 June in Group I of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

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see also
Essien to organise peace match
15 Apr 11 |  African
Yeboah calls for Essien to end exile
09 Mar 11 |  African
Tiote hopes to emulate Essien
04 Nov 10 |  African
Rajevac confident of Essien return
01 Sep 10 |  African
Michael Essien out of World Cup
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Essien extends Chelsea contract
04 Jun 10 |  Chelsea
Essien ruled out of Nations Cup
18 Jan 10 |  African
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African

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