Essien says Black Stars are ready for pressure

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The Chelsea midfielder, the star man in the Ghana squad who have grown in stature and reverence at home since their second round showing at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, says the players are fully aware of the mood in Ghana ahead of the Nations Cup. “I know all about Ghana and the passion this country has for football. But as players we are happy to make them happy, we are happy to deal with it all, Essien told KickOff.com.

The Ghana players had a feel of the mood in the country on their arrival from their camping base in Dubai on Tuesday afternoon.

Thousands of fans swamped the Kotoko International Airport clad in the red, gold green of Ghana to usher the team back into town. And for many of those fans all they want in return for the support is a first African Nations Cup title in twenty six years and Essien says that is something the team can deliver.

“We have a side as good as any and for us the players we know doing well on the pitch is all that matters. We just want to get out there and play in manner that brings happiness to Ghanaians.”

The absence of the captain Stephen Appiah means Essien’s role will be even more crucial but the Chelsea man says he is happy to deal with that.

“Appiah was the inspiration of this team but without him, we feel we can still do well. I know people will expect a lot from me but it won’t play on mind. I am just keen to play and see Ghana win”, Essien added.