Essien named in Ghana squad

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The Independent Football

Milovan Rajevac said it had not been easy to whittle down his list of Ghana players to 29 after naming his preliminary squad for this summer's World Cup.

The Serbian coach had to endure a difficult month trying to travel around Europe in the havoc caused by the volcanic ash, but has finally come up with the list he hopes will help the Black Stars to success in South Africa.

Injured Barclays Premier League-based pair Michael Essien and John Mensah have both been named, while there is also a call up for Kevin-Prince Boateng, who is still awaiting the formalisation of his nationality switch from Germany after turning out for them at youth level.

Born in Ghana, the Portsmouth midfielder will be hoping he receives the all-clear from FIFA before the final squad deadline on June 1.

Chelsea midfielder Essien, currently recuperating from a knee injury, is expected to be fit along with on-loan Sunderland defender Mensah, who has been troubled by calf problem.

"Of course, I have been monitoring my team," Rajevac said. "It hasn't been easy. A lot of work has been going on during this important period.

"Some of my tour to see the players had to be in the car or on the road because of the volcanic ash in Europe.

"I have seen everything for myself and my assistant - Kwesi Appiah - has also been watching some of the players.

"I have confidence in all the players."

There are four locally-based players in the squad, three of whom are goalkeepers, while Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is recalled after disciplinary issues led to him being axed from January's African Nations Cup.

The west African country are pooled in Group D for the June 11 to July 11 competition, alongside Serbia, Australia and Germany.

The 29 players named will take part in a week-long pre-tournament training camp in France starting on May 24.

Ghana preliminary squad: Richard Kingson (Wigan), Daniel Agyei (Liberty Professionals), Stephen Ahorlu (Hearts of Lions), Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars); Samuel Inkoom (Basle), Eric Addo (Roda JC), Jonathan Mensah (Granada), Lee Addy (Bechem Chelsea), Rahim Ayew (Zamalek), Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen), John Mensah (Lyon), Isaac Vorsah (Hoffenheim), John Pantsil (Fulham); Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan), Derek Boateng (Getafe), Anthony Annan (Rosenborg), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah (both Udinese), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Michael Essien (Chelsea), Stephen Appiah (Bologna), Haminu Draman (Lokomotiv Moscow), Quincy Owusu Abeyie (Al Sadd), Bernard Kumordzie (Panionios), Laryea Kingston (Hearts), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth); Matthew Amoah (NAC Breda), Asamoah Gyan (Rennes), Prince Tagoe (Hoffenheim), Dominic Adiyiah (AC Milan).