Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has rejected suggestions that he teamed up with Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng to sabotage the Black Stars' campaign at the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
The trio were reported to have masterminded agitations for players appearance fees to be paid before the final group game against Portugal, forcing the Ghanaian government to emplane over $4 million to Brazil to save the situation.
Following the incident, Boateng and Muntari were expelled from camp and handed an indefinite ban from the national team, with Essien going on a self-imposed retirement.
“Ghanaians will now understand the reasons why that incident happened in Brazil by virtue of what is going on currently in our football,” Essien told Adom FM.
“It will be very wrong for anyone to criticize me, Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng for all that happened during the World Cup. Muntari in particular is a very good person and I have known him since our childhood days.
"He is not someone who keeps quiet on issues like me, so he always voices out when he thinks that things will affect the team as a whole and not himself. Everything is clear now how issues were handled in the past by the leaders of the football,” he added.
Essien also praised former Ghana captain Stephen Appiah for his leadership qualities and says he's the best teammate at the national level alongside Muntari.
“My best playing mate in the national team during my time was Stephen Appiah and Sulley Muntari. Appiah was a unifier and through his efforts the country qualified to the World Cup for the first time in 2006,” he said.