Former Ghanaian international, Michael Essien has revealed that he almost rejected the opportunity to join Ghana U-17 team, the Black Starlets in 1999 had it not been the intervention of his mother.
Essien in an exclusive interview with FIFA TV disclosed that he nearly chose his education over representing Ghana at age 16 during the FIFA Under 17 World Cup which was held in New Zealand but her mother Ms Aba Gyandoh sat indecisive young Essien down and told him to grab the Black Starlets opportunity after he has said no to the Late Cecil Jones Attuquayefio.
“When I was selected for the national under 17 sides, I was in school at the time and my mum said, “It’s going to be a difficult one, do you really want to go? I think my answer was “no”, the Bisson revealed.
He, however, revealed that after sitting down with his mum whom he was more inclined to, he finally decided to give it a shot and that was the beginning of his success story.
“My mom sat me down and said, “My son, you should go. So I had to take that sacrifice and move away from my mom and pursue my career”.
Essien upon accepting to join the team together with the likes of Ishmael Addo, Razak Pimpong, Dong Bortey, Anthony Obodai as well as Stephen Oduro took the championship by storm and eventually won the bronze medal.
European scouts began to take notice of his talent and Manchester United offered him a trial in 2000 featuring for the club’s U-17 side’s defeat to Derby County.
Manchester United offered him a contract but he was ineligible to obtain a work permit in the United Kingdom so he opted to join Belgian feeder side Royal Antwerp but his mother preferred a move to France instead.
Essien then joined Bastia in 2000 and made a name for himself attracting interest from Olympique Lyonnaise in 2003 before his big-money switch to Chelsea in 2005 under Jose Mourinho.
He made 168 appearances for Chelsea netting 17 times for the Blues from 2005 to 2014.
The Ghanaian legend played 58 times for the Black Stars and scoring 9 goals in the process since making his debut for the team from 2002 to 2014.
Essien has been selected among the likes of World Cup winners Marcel Desailly of France and Brazil’s Gilberto Silva, two-time UEFA Champions League winner Michel Salgado of Spain, Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso, Australian Tim Cahill and former South Korean star Park Ji-sung by FIFA as ambassadors to promote this year’s Women’s World Cup in France.