John Paintsil has highlighted the importance of Michael Essien to the Ghana team as the midfielder begins a long countdown to action from injury.

Essien is expected to be out for six months after undergoing a successful surgery on his right knee following injury he suffered last week in training with Chelsea.

The absence means, Essien, who only returned to the Black Stars team last month after a one-year time off on international football, would miss Ghana’s remaining matches in the Group I qualifying for the 2012 African Nations Cup.

“We would certainly miss him. Every team would miss the quality of a player like Essien,” Paintsil said Wednesday, on TV 3.

“We lost him during 2010 and it’s very painful he has to go through such an experience again but he’s a hardworking guy and he’ll get well soon.”

“I believe that if we had him in the team during the 2010 World Cup, we would have gone farther than the quarter-finals. He is a great player for us.”

Paintsil believes Essien has a strong character to overcome the setback.

“He is a strong player and nobody can stop him when he wants to play. It’s difficult for every player to go out injured. But I trust him [Essien] to get back quickly.

“I know he would work hard to get back and we are only hoping for that.”

Source: Ghanafa.org

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