By Ameenu Shardow
Ghana FA boss Kwasi Nyantakyi says Michael Essien is battling a psychological problem in his bid to make a national team return.
The 29-year-old has asked to be excused from the Black Stars for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Essien sustained serious injuries while with the Ghana national team.
His recent injury, though not with the Black Stars, forced him to a loan move to Real Madrid following his redundancy at Chelsea.
The former Lyon midfielder has only started enjoying regular first team action with the Spanish giants â€“ prompting calls to have him invited to the Black Stars for the Nations Cup.
But Essien has declared himself unavailable for now of which Nyantakyi believes is the Bisonâ€™s continued fight against negative embedded memories.
â€œI think that Michael Essien has a psychological problem and needs to be encouraged,â€ he said.
â€œOn the two occasions that Michael got injured, the most serious injuries in his life: one was a cruciate ligament injury in Libya and another cruciate ligament tear in Angola, all occurred with the national team.â€
â€œSometimes when these players come, they complain about pitches in Africa, they complain about the risk in playing and so forth.
â€œSo I think that he may be a bit apprehensive in coming back. We need to gradually tune his mind back.
Nyantakyi also adds the player is looking to secure his club future hence the need to understand his decision to stay away from the Black Stars.
â€œAnd at another time we realised that he had difficulty commanding first team selection in Chelsea.
â€œAll these are challenges that can come the way of any of us. When I think about the national interest, I think he also needs to be given the benefit of the doubt.â€