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Essien fumes at Ghana's football authorities over the exclusion of his long-time pal from the national team…

Ghana international and Chelsea ace Michael Essien has challenged the decision of the Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac for expelling Inter’s Sulley Muntari from the Angola 2010 squad.

“Sulley Muntari is a world class player, and has obviously gained a lot of experience from playing in Europe.

“He has worked so hard in the past for the Black Stars and I remember at the last African Cup, Sulley and I suffered from malaria, and yet we played our hearts out for the country we love so much,” the midfielder recalled in an open letter to the Ghana Football Association.

“We are in one of the toughest groups this January and it is very important we go with all our experienced and valuable players to win the cup and prepare us for the World Cup.

“Three players didn't show up in Angola for the recent friendly and we have been embarrassed and punished for this. However I wonder why Sulley has been the only one of the three excluded from the team.

“Sulley doesn't bring indiscipline to the pitch, he brings experience, value and results to our team and it is imperative we have him in the team if we are to excel at the next games,” he noted in the letter cited on Ghanasoccernet.com.

Three Black Stars regulars – Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan – failed to turn up, without permission, for an international friendly against Angola some four weeks ago.

Essien and Gyan publicly apologised for their misdemeanor and reportedly paid a fine of €3,400, whilst Muntari refused to comply with the local FA directives. This resulted in his expulsion from the national team ahead of the African Nations Cup from January 10 to 31.

Ghana have an all West African fixture list to begin with, with Group B pitting them against Ivory Coast, Togo and Burkina Faso.

K.N.S. Mensah, Goal.com

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