Michael Essien I believe has come to a cross road in his career were he has to make a quick and intelligent decision to turn his story around in the football story books of Ghana and also save his otherwise brilliant career from ending on a sad note.
The last time he featured for the Black Stars was in the Nations Cup qualifiers in June 2011 against Congo in Kumasi and has since asked to be excused from national duties in order to revamp his career at the club level after a series of injuries.
He was lucky to have been given the opportunity by Morhino last season to prove that he was still good enough to play at the highest level after he lost favor at Stanford bridge, but what I saw Morhino do with Essien at Madrid was that, he used him in positions where they needed someone to fill in because of a suspension, an injury or some other problem in the team.
As a result of this we saw him playing in about three different positions under his “Daddy” at Madrid. What I deduced from this situation was that it would have been difficult if not impossible for Essien to make the Madrid team if everything was in order.
Now Essien is back at Chelsea and it is early days yet in the season but my deduction about his adventure at Madrid seems to be a good one as Essien has not found a place in the Chelsea midfield that can boast of some of the best young, strong and skillful midfielders in the English premiership.
Ivanovic and Cole are also in top shape therefore there is no need for a makeshift right or left back till something happens in the course of the season therefore I was not very surprise to see him in the stands during their midweek encounter with Aston Villa.
What I will humbly advice Essien to do at this juncture is to take a cue from the examples from players like Ronaldo and his own friends Muntari and Stephen Appiah that it takes more than a total concentration on club football to rescue a career that is beset with injuries and heading for the gallows. In the case of Ronaldo who suffered a recurring knee injury in 1999, he rode on the back of the Brazilian national team to revamp his career after two years of inactivity.
On the other hand, during Muntari’s difficult days at Inter Milan, he found solace in the national team as he got regular call ups which gave him the opportunity to show the world that he was still the Muntari they knew. Keeping his position at international level also played a role in helping Muntari overcome those awful days he spent on the Inter bench until he got a chance to prove his worth elsewhere.
Finally in the case of Appiah who happens to be one of the most dedicated Black star players I have seen in recent times, he had the opportunity to remain active in football because of national duties as he was without a club for almost a season after leaving Fernabache in June 2009. Staying active at national level to a large extent helped him to revamp his club career to next season.
I know the circumstances that surrounded the examples I have given may be different from what Essien is facing now but I also think there are a lot of similarities in these examples that Essien can draw on to advice himself.
I believe that it will be unwise for anyone to be looking in one direction and keep trying the same remedy over and over again when faced with a challenge in life while there are other directions to look, therefore I will advice Essien to look at the other avenue available for him apart from club football in his effort to bring back his brilliant days on the pitch.
I believe most of his fans want to see him in action week in week out for a few more years before he finally hangs his boots. I therefore hope that Essien will return to national duties NOW to help himself and Ghana and also put back the smile on the face of his fans once more before he retires in future so that we can have “and they lived happily ever after” ending his story as a footballer.
BY: Kenneth Nii Yeboah a.k.a Nubi Yebua