By Rahman Osman
Follow Rahman on Twitter: @iamrahmanosman
Tema Youth president Winfred Osei claims Michael Essien opted to wear the number 5 jersey for the 2014 World Cup instead of number 8 shirt to avoid a career-threatening injury.
Osei, who doubles Ghana Football Association Executive Committee chairman, says the AC Milan ace’s major injury setbacks occurred when he was in the ‘cursed’ jersey number playing international football.
On 5 September 2008, Essien ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament playing for Ghana in the World Cup qualification stage and was out of action for six months.
He enforcer missed the majority of the 2008–09 season.
Essien was ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup due to a relapse of the same injury playing at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.
The former Chelsea talisman, who wore the number 8 jersey at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, has picked the number 5 shirt for the Brazil tournament.
“When Essien was at St. Augustine College (High School) his favorite number was the number 5 jersey which brought him so much success even at that level,” he told Accra based Happy FM.
“When he first moved to France he donned the jersey number 5 and even when he moved to Chelsea he donned the same number.
“When he decided to jilt the number 5 for 8 at the national level nothing has worked for him with the stars.
“It’s not for nothing that jerseys are numbered. There are connotations to the figure behind you.”
Essien is currently in camp with the Black Stars preparing for the World Cup.