Visa bungle delays Essien

2010-01-08 13:33
Michael Essien (File)
Johannesburg - Ghana's embattled Africa Cup of Nations squad has suffered a further setback as stand-in skipper Michael Essien fights Angolan bureaucracy.

The Chelsea superstar was set to jet into Angola on Saturday and link up with the injury-ravaged Ghana outfit in Cabinda. But issues with his visa application mean that his arrival date will be pushed back until next week.

"We have been working assiduously on obtaining a visa to Angola and until that comes through I am uncertain I will be there on Saturday," Essien told Ghanasoccernet.

The midfielder has been sidelined since early December with a hamstring injury and, red tape aside, was not expected to feature in the Black Stars' opening AFCON fixture against Togo on Monday but will be available for the second clash against the Ivorians four days later.

Nonetheless, Essien assured Ghanaian fans that he is committed to the nation's cause despite the visa bungle and concerns over his fitness.

"I will definitely be in Angola even though I feel I am not fully healed and don't feel 100%," Essien said.

"I also lack match practice but will be there to fight for my place in the team for the good of Ghana.

"It may not be Saturday but most probably early next week I will be with my colleagues. But I am in constant touch with the team."

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