Ghana and Chelsea’s defender, Michael Essien has expressed his concern over precarious situation Nigeria finds herself on the road to picking the ticket for the 2010 World Cup stressing that it would be a shame if the country did not make it to South Africa.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, (GNA) in Accra, he stressed that since Ghana picked the World Cup ticket, he has not discuss anything with his Chelsea’s teammate, Mikel Obi adding that he is saving the joke till Nigeria qualifies.

“We haven’t said much to Mikel yet, we are saving the jokes to see if they qualify. They are in a difficult situation, but Nigeria is one of the biggest African football nations, so it would be a shame if they are not there. It is all a part of football, but it would be nice to see them there,” the Ghanaian defender said.

Essien has already revealed his favoured opponents, but is hoping he can be joined at the finals by Mikel Obi, whose Nigeria could yet miss out.

“As I said in my blog, it would be fantastic to play England, it would be a really good game if it happened, everyone speaks English in Ghana so it would be a good opportunity,” he said.

Essien continued: “The future is bright for African players and African football, I am really looking forward to playing in both the World Cup and the Cup of Nations next year. There are African players in all the top teams in Europe now, at Chelsea alone there are players from three different African countries _ it is great.’

Essien is part of the Ghana side that is well_fancied to go a long way in both continental and world competitions in 2010, but he is reluctant to demonstrate too much confidence.

“I can’t predict if we are capable of winning it but we will do our best and see what happens. The African Nations is in Angola this year, and we have a good chance for that. I think that will be another good tournament, although it keeps us away from Chelsea for a long time.

It could be a fantastic year but it is important to keep working hard and not pay attention to what might happen,” the Chelsea star added.


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