Michael Essien's father, James (76), who was apparently AWOL in his childhood and left his mother with the main responsibility of his upbringing and welfare has been in the media of recent accusing Essien of neglect. He granted interviews to British press where he said the money Essien sends him is not enough to live the life that the father of a world class footballer should live especially when he is ailing. Michael makes £12K a day (that is £90K p/week, £4.7m p/year)
He claims Essien provides far more for his mother.
Background of Essien
Essien? Well, it just remains for him to do it on the pitch. Again and again. Pressure? You would not know it, not yesterday, and certainly not if you fought through the dusty traffic to the Accra suburb of Dansomer. This is where Liberty Professionals, Essien’s former team, play and it is also where he built a house for his mother, Aba Gyanode. An hour away, the airport district is where you will find the big stars, the Tony Yeboahs and the Sammy Kuffours, their residences large, elaborate and questionable of taste.
But Aba is delighted with her palace — large, comparatively simple in stone-washed pink, in an area that does not suggest the Essiens have moved beyond their roots. Like in the rest of the city, large Ghana flags are draped from the walls and from the gate. Aba is also wearing a smaller version as a headscarf. “I am so proud of him,” she said. “I knew that he was a good player, but I never thought that he would get this far.” She carries in her handbag a small, private collection of dog-eared photographs: Michael standing proud next to his elder cousin, Michael, in an early football team, Michael aged 5 by a dirt road.
In those days they lived 20 miles out of the city and mostly in the absence of Essien’s father. He, too, was a footballer, but the parents split and Aba kept the family by baking and selling bread. “It was difficult,” she said, but they were not poor by African standards and even then Michael contributed by playing decent football.
In Ghana, bystanders watching amateur or junior football will hand their spare change sometimes to the players whose football they enjoyed, as if giving them a tip. “When Michael was young, they always gave him money,” Aba said. “It wasn’t much, but he always brought it home to me, he never spent it on sweets.”
She does indeed have a special relationship with him and it has survived the years and distance apart. “I was always very close to him,” she said. “I had four daughters, but he was my last child and my only boy. I soon came to realise there were two sides to him. He was a very quiet boy, but on the football pitch he was different, a rough boy. I came to realise that you had to be like that. He was good at volleyball and table tennis, too, but football was what he really wanted.”