Sports News Fri, 8 May 2020

Essien triumphed because of determination and hard work - Okwemba

Former Harambee Stars midfielder Charles Okwemba believes Michael Essien triumphed during his time at Chelsea owing to his determination and hard work.

The Ghanaian was signed by the Blues in 2005 and went on to make 168 appearances for the London-based side and spent nine years at the club, scoring 17 goals in the process.

"Every coach would love to have a combative midfielder like Essien in his team," Okwemba told Goal on Friday.

"He was a very powerful and energetic box to box midfielder who played passionately and hated losing. One thing with him was his work rate; it was why he was loved at the club and went on to be an asset for the team."

"Essien was a great tackler and adapted fast with the situation on the pitch, but his consistency and attitude always worked for him."

The 40-year-old has explained why he will go for the Ghanaian at any given time as opposed to another former Chelsea midfielder, former Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel.

"Mikel yes was talented but is nowhere close to Essien; the latter, literally, fought to help his team. No wonder [Jose] Mourinho signed him for Real Madrid.

"If given chance, I will choose Essien for my team over Mikel, no two ways about it."

The now 37-year-old made 58 appearances for the Black Stars of Ghana, scoring nine goals in the process.

He was part of the national team that took part in the 2006 World Cup in Germany but could not play in the 2010 competition in South Africa owing to his knee injury.

He helped Ghana reach the semi-finals in the 2008 Afcon but Okwemba believes despite his achievements, Essien could have done more with the national team.

"Injuries affected his stint with Ghana, he was the driving force in the team but without him, sometimes they struggled," he added.

"His impact could have been better for the Black Stars for sure."

Essien won 13 trophies while at Olympic Lyon and Chelsea and led Ghana to a third-place finish at the 2008 African and a second-place finish at the 2010 event.
Source: goal.com
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