Essien available after court case delay

ACCRA - Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is available for Ghana's World Cup qualifier against Mali despite missing preparations for the match to attend a court case, the country's football association said on Friday.

Essien has completed his cross examination in a case in which his ex-girlfriend is seeking to clarify the status of their relationship in a divorce compensation claim, the Ghana FA said on its website.

It was initially expected Essien's testimony in the Accra High Court could take several days and preclude him from making the trip to Mali for Sunday's African Zone Group D clash.

Essien will bolster Ghana's injury-hit squad after Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari became the latest player to withdraw injured.

Ghana won their opening game in the group in March against Benin while Mali drew with Sudan. Only the group winner will qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.