ACCRA, Ghana -- Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng both ended long breaks from international football on Tuesday when they were named in Ghana's squad for next month's crucial World Cup qualifier at home to Zambia.
The pair, who have hardly played for Ghana since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, were joined by Andre Ayew, who is back in contention after having been dropped at the start of the year.
Essien, on loan at Real Madrid from Chelsea, has missed almost all Ghana's games since the World Cup because of a combination of serious knee injuries and a sabbatical.
Boateng retired from internationals in 2011, but the AC Milan midfielder said last week he was available again for Ghana, with the World Cup in Brazil less than a year away.
Marseille winger Ayew was named again in coach Kwesi Appiah's 26-man squad after being left out for this year's African Nations Cup in January and February after he failed to report for a training camp on time.
Asamoah Gyan, who captained Ghana at that tournament in South Africa, was also picked by Appiah, and midfielders Kwadwo Asamoah of Juventus, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu of Udinese and Mubarak Wakaso of Espanyol were listed alongside Essien and Boateng.
Ghana need only a draw against Zambia in Kumasi on September 6 to make Africa's final World Cup play-offs in October and November, when the five African countries to go to the World Cup will be decided.
Goalkeepers: Fatawu Dauda (Orlando Pirates, South Africa), Adam Kwarasey (Stromgodset, Norway), Razak Braimah (Guadalajara, Spain).
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom (Dnipro, Ukraine), Daniel Opare (Standard Liege, Belgium), Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Kissi Boateng (TP Mazembe, Congo), John Boye (Rennes, France), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa), Mohammed Awal (Maritzburg United, South Africa).
Midfielders: Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar, Russia), Yussif Raman Chibsah (Sassuolo, Italy), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus, Italy), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese, Italy), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough, England), Solomon Asante (TP Mazembe, Congo), Mubarak Wakaso (Espanyol, Spain), Christian Atsu (Porto, Portugal), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain, UAE), Andre Ayew (Marseille, France), Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan, Italy), Abdul Majeed Waris (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Mahatma Otoo (Sogndal, Norway).