Essien out of Ghana World Cup Fixtures
It is the time of the year when it is the worst possible to be injured. Ask Germany’s Michael Ballack. Now his Stamford Bridge team mate Michael Essien has suffered the same fate as the would-be German captain, as the Ghana star has had to withdraw from the World Cup due to his long term injury. Essien, the vital cog in the Ghana football machine, but picked up a knee injury while on duty training with his country at the African Cup of Nations. That was back in December, and prior to that, an ankle injury had been keeping him out of action for his English Premier League club Chelsea. He has been fighting to be fit in time to take part in Ghana’s World Cup fixtures but after meeting with the Ghana Football Association, it was clear that Essien simply would not be fit enough in time.
This is a blow for the world stage, and it could influence betting on Ghana at the World Cup as the African nation was expected to push hard in Group D, where Germany, Serbia and Australia also reside. How much of a loss will Essien be to Ghana’s World Cup hopes? At the African Cup of Nations, the starting eleven was beleaguered with injuries, and the youngsters of the squad were given a lot of responsibility and playing time by coach Milovan Rajevac, and reached the final of the competition. It was expected, that with their full complement at 100% fitness, Ghana would pose one of the strongest dark horse challenges in the World Cup. Has that now been thrown into doubt with the loss of their star presence?
While the experts doing the medical tests on Essien have ruled him out of contention, the same thing should not be said of Ghana’s World Cup hopes. While Essien had remained positive about his chances of making South Africa 2010, the best bookmakers for betting on the World Cup will have taken notice of the absence of another World star. Group D is now without Ballack and Essien, and whether that will give an advantage to the other two teams in the group, or whether it will make Germany and Ghana’s reserve to perform even stronger, remains to be seen. One player does not make a team, as emphasised by nations such as Switzerland and Greece, so while Ghana may be weakened, they are not to be discounted in a group which is expected to be very tight.