The Black Stars had a dominant period in the 2000s, having qualified for three successive World Cup tournaments and reached the final of the 2010 AFCON.
Essien was the pillar of Ghana’s golden generation – Sulley Muntari
Sulley Muntari has eulogised former teammate Michael Essien as the pillar of Ghana’s golden generation of players that played together in the 2000s.
The combo of Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Laryea Kingston and Stephen Appiah was one that brought Ghana onto the world stage.
The quartet simply epitomised what midfield play should be, with a combination of skill, power, pace and trickery.
Ghana’s rise to the pinnacle of African football between 2006 and 2010 was built on a lateral midfield paring of the aforementioned players.
It was, therefore, no surprise that the Black Stars’ debut qualification to the World Cup in 2006 came with “that” midfield at the heart of everything.
Muntari, who played alongside Essien for many years at Ghana and later at AC Milan, has described his compatriot as the pillar of that golden generation.
"When we were in the Black Stars, I used to rotate positions with Laryea and Appiah, but Essien was always the constant person in the midfield to protect us and also start transitions. He was the pillar of our team,” he said on GTV, as quoted by Ghanaweb.
“We (Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Laryea, and others) built that relationship in the Black Stars but we didn't discriminate against the others and the new ones."
“We always welcomed them to the team. The kind of relationship that we had in the team, nobody gets angry.”
Muntari currently plays for Ghana Premier League giants Hearts of Oak, while Essien is a youth team coach at Danish side Nordsjaelland.