|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Such a dilemma is nothing new for Ghana as Essien's fitness has been an issue for some time now and his continued absence for club and country since he picked up his knee problem while on international duty last January has left a large cloud hovering over his long-term ambitions.However, Ghana's fine performances in this year's African Nation's Cup confirmed that life without the brilliant and fragile Essien can be profitable, with the shadow stars in Rajevac's squad set to get their chance to prove they have what it takes to step up to the plate on the biggest stage of them all. Leading the race to take over his leadership role should be Kwadwo Asamoah. After becoming Ghana's midfield heartbeat in Essien's absence during 2010 African Nations Cup, the Udinese star seems to have what it takes to provide creativity and inspiration in abundance in the heat of battle. If Asamoah turns on the style at this World Cup, there may yet be hope for the Black Stars. Inter Milan star Sulley Muntari returns to the fold to inject additional class after some time away from the international scene due to disciplinary issues and he will also be looked upon to provide a leadership role. The experienced campaigner Stephen Appiah will be another with plenty of additional expectation on his broad shoulders now. The Ghanaian attacking line will be led by Rennes' Asamoah Gyan, with his pace offering Ghana a potent attacking outlet. He will thrive at this World Cup if he gets the right service. His combination with NAC Breda's Matthew Amoah is a nice blend between the speedy and clinical. A concern must come in the defensive third, where John Mensah has been struggling with his fitness during a loan spell in England with Sunderland and he is not likely to have too much experience alongside him. Centre-back Issac Vorsah and right-back Samuel Inkoom may have been impressive in the African Nations Cup earlier this year, but they are still novices on the international stage. Meanwhile, 'keeper Richard Kingson is prone to the odd error and has barely played a game for club side Wigan this season. The belated arrival of Kevin Prince-Boateng in the Ghana squad throws an additional touch of flair into the midfield and after his challenge ended Michael Ballack's World Cup ambitions, German fans will doubtless view the ex-Tottenham midfielder as public enemy number one this summer.