Watch Live Matches

Q&A: Michael Essien talks about Black Stars, Chelsea and Sly Tetteh

Published on: 07 March 2012


Michael has released his monthly blog for his website and This time is a Q & A

Which footballers did you admire growing up a kid?


I enjoyed watching George Weah, Abedi Pele and Tony Yeboah. These were great African legends playing in Europe at the time and were all successful. They won trophies with their various clubs for many years. I would watch all their games whenever I had a chance to and they inspired me greatly. I also enjoyed watching Paolo Maldini and he really knew how to defend. I started off as a centre-back so I loved watching defenders and he was one of them.


Have you always had a mentor throughout your career?


Yes, my mentor from my childhood through to his recent passing was Alhaji Sly Tetteh - the man who spotted me and ensured I went on to fulfil my potential. He was my father, brother, mentor and special adviser who made sure I grew up to be a responsible person and footballer. Unfortunately I wasn’t there when he passed away and didn’t get a chance to say goodbye but I am sure he is still mentoring me wherever he is now.


What do you consider to be your greatest footballing achievement?


That is a difficult one but it will have to be all the trophies I have won in my career, both at club level and personally. I have been lucky to play at the highest level for clubs that have been ambitious like Lyon and Chelsea. These clubs have been able to get the best out of me and winning trophies with these clubs have to be the greatest achievements. On second thoughts, I think I will also add helping Ghana qualify for her first World Cup in 2006. That has to be up there too.


This is your seventh season at Chelsea. Has it flown by?


Yes, I have been here for a long time and I can still remember the first day I signed. I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Chelsea and in London and hope to enjoy more in the coming years. Sometimes I feel sorry for the fans because of all my injuries. I feel they haven’t had me for the seven years I have been here but injuries are part of football and I hope mine are all behind me now.


Would you agree this has been a frustrating season for Chelsea?


It has been frustrating and unfortunately the season hasn’t gone to plan. Football is full of highs and lows and as much as we enjoy the highs of winning trophies we have to work hard to reverse the lows of disappointing results. It’s not been easy but tough times call for tough characters and as long as we keep working hard with Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton and stick together we will come out victorious. Hard work hasn’t killed anyone yet and that is what we have to do to keep our season going.


You predicted Ghana or Ivory Coast to win the Africa Cup. What happened?


Well the Zambians didn't read the script at all and were on a different planet at the Nations Cup. They were superb and wanted it more than any other team in my view. They beat both Ghana and Ivory Coast who were my favourites so I wasn’t far off. To be fair I predicted Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal to be in the last four and only Senegal didn’t make it as they were replaced by Zambia who eventually won the trophy. What do I know anyway, but overall it was a good tournament and Zambia evoked the memories of all their players who tragically died in a plane crash 19 years ago.


There will be another African Cup of Nations tournament next year in order to allow CAF to organise the tournament in odd years. This will ensure the tournament does not clash with the World Cup which takes place in even years.


The 2013 competition will be held in South Africa and I think all the teams that qualified for this year's tournament will play against another batch of 16 teams and the winners will go to South Africa 2013. I think that’s how they have organised the qualifiers.


Finally tell us one thing people didn’t know about you...


When I was a kid I used to help my mum bake bread. My mum was a baker and my job after school or on holidays was to paint the baking trays with oil before the bread mix was poured in. I was also the chief taster after each batch was baked and I can tell you I have eaten more bread than any man on earth. I still love bread till this day


  • NASTY says:
    March 07, 2012 04:43 pm
    So why did he talked about the Blackstar?It is the Ghana ,Ivory coast tip for the the final Gsn? Hmmmmm
  • NASTY says:
    March 07, 2012 04:44 pm
    Sorry, So where did he talked about.......
  • MAWUDEKA says:
    March 07, 2012 01:49 pm
  • jangoo says:
    March 07, 2012 03:00 pm
    we love u boy.
  • don ray says:
    March 07, 2012 03:51 pm
    we wish u de best
  • KABORE says:
    March 07, 2012 04:19 pm
  • yaw2 says:
    March 07, 2012 06:52 pm
    Opreration sack the serbian coach start now.Plavi is using ghana for his own gain.
  • jamal says:
    March 07, 2012 07:05 pm
    we need u in black stars being a long time since we saw u in the team.
  • yaw2 says:
    March 07, 2012 08:28 pm
    Plavi must leave now for his own safety.Ghana dont want you any serbian trainer anymore.Ghana want black man as coach