A member of the Executive Committee of the Ghana FA Wilfred Osei ‘Parma’ believes that Michael Essien dropped his favourite No. 8 jersey for 5 at the World Cup to avoid injuries.
The AC Milan midfielder has been a constant visitor at the treatment room in recent times and has affected his performance drastically – forcing him to leave Chelsea after virtually spending an entire last season on the bench.
“When Essien was at St. Augustine College [High School] his favourite number was the 5 jersey which brought him so much success even at that level,” Osei told Accra-based Happy FM. “When he first moved to France he donned the jersey number 5 and even when he moved to Chelsea he donned the same number.”
Parma, as he is affectionately referred to, believes Essien has been a flop on the international stage ever since he opted for the No. 8 shirt, adding that every number on a jersey has its own implications.
“When he decided to jilt the number 5 for 8 at the national level nothing has worked for him with the Stars. It’s not for nothing that jerseys are numbered. There are connotations to the figure behind you,” he added.
Essien suffered an anterior cruciate ligament in 2008 and was sidelined for six months when he was playing for Ghana in a World Cup qualification game. The 'Bison' also missed the 2010 World Cup after suffering the same injury in the opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola against Ivory Coast.
Essien has played 53 times for Ghana scoring nine goals in the process.