Essien, Boateng back for Ghana for WCup qualifier

Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng returned from long

international breaks Tuesday to be named in Ghana’s squad for next

month’s crucial World Cup qualifier at home to Zambia.

The pair, who have hardly played for Ghana since the World Cup

in South Africa in 2010, were joined by Andre Ayew. He was back in

contention after being dropped at the start of the year.

Essien, who is on loan at Real Madrid from Premier League club

Chelsea, has missed almost all of Ghana’s games since the 2010

World Cup through a combination of serious knee injuries and a

sabbatical. As a result, he was absent from the last three major

tournaments for his country: the World Cup and African Cups in 2012

and 2013.

Boateng retired from internationals in 2011 but the AC Milan

midfielder said in a letter to the Ghana Football Association last

week he was now available again with the World Cup in Brazil less

than a year away.

Marseille winger Ayew also was named again in coach Kwesi

Appiah’s 26-man squad after being left out for this year’s African

Cup in January and February because he didn’t arrive at a training

camp in time and then making himself unavailable. He and his

brother, striker Jordan, also have announced their returns from

self-imposed exiles, although Jordan was not included in this

squad.

Striker Asamoah Gyan, who captained Ghana at the African Cup in

South Africa, was picked, and midfielders Kwadwo Asamoah of

Juventus, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu of Udinese and Mubarak Wakaso of

Espanyol were listed alongside Essien and Boateng.

Ghana needs a draw against Zambia in Kumasi on Sept. 6 to make

Africa’s final World Cup playoffs in October and November, when the

continent’s five countries to go to the World Cup will be

decided.

Ghana made the quarterfinals at the last World Cup, only the

third African team to make the last eight of the world’s showpiece

after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Fatawu Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Adam

Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Razak Braimah (Guadalajara,

Spain).

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare

(Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia),

Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, Congo), John Boye (Rennes, France),

Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns,

South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa).

Midfielders: Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Yussif

Raman Chibsah (Sassuolo, Italy), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England),

Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese,

Italy), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Solomon Asante (TP

Mazembe, Congo), Mubarak Wakaso (Espanyol, Spain), Christian Atsu

(Porto, Portugal), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium).

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Andre Ayew (Marseille,

France), Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan, Italy), Abdul Majeed Waris

(Spartak Moscow, Russia), Mahatma Otoo (Sogndal, Norway).