Chelsea and Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has been ruled out of the World Cup due to injury.
The 27-year-old missed a large part of the recently-concluded season due to knee and ankle injuries and has hardly played any competitive football since December.
National coach Milovan Rajevac had hoped the former Lyon man would be passed fit for the showpiece tournament in South Africa this summer, but the Ghana Football Association today announced he was not expected to be back in action until the end of July.
A statement on www.ghanafa.org read: "An evaluation by a combined team of medical experts from the Ghana Football Association and Chelsea Football Club revealed that Essien will not make full recovery until the end of July.
"The Ghana Football Association wishes him full recovery and a quick return to football action."
Essien has been recovering from a knee injury picked up on African Nations Cup duty in Angola in January.
Ghana, who will be making their second appearance at the World Cup finals, are in Group D alongside Germany, Serbia and Australia.