Who is Milovan Rajevac? The frontrunner for Black Stars job

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Serbian tactician Milovan Rajevac
Serbian tactician Milovan Rajevac

Serbian tactician Milovan Rajevac looks set to be named new Black Stars coach in the coming days, with the 67-year-old taking over from the sacked CK Akonnor.

Akonnor was dismissed on Monday following Ghana’s unimpressive start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Black Stars laboured to a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia in their opening group match before falling to defeat against South Africa in Johannesburg.

The former World Cup quarter-finalists now lie second in their group, one point behind South Africa, with only the group winners set to advance to the next phase of the African qualifying series.

Rajevac is set to return for a second spell as Black Stars head coach, having occupied the role in a successful stint between 2008 and 2010.

During his first reign as Ghana’s national team coach, the Serbian stirred the Black Stars to the African Cup of Nations final in 2010, before guiding the team to the quarter finals of the World Cup in South Africa in the same year.

His Stars were that infamous Asamoah Gyan penalty kick away from becoming the first nation from the continent to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Ghana may have agonisingly missed out on the World Cup semis, but Rajevac’s exploits were rewarded with the African Coach of the Year award.

According to reports, the Ghanaian FA received hundreds of applications from coaches all over the world wanting to become the new coach of the national men’s team, but Rajevac emerged as the preferred choice due to his previous results and understanding of the Ghanaian terrain.

Born in Cajetina in the former Yugoslavia, Rajevac had an unremarkable playing career, which spanned over a decade. The defender had two spells with Borac Cacak (1973 – 1977 and 1982 – 1984), making a total of 89 senior appearances for the club.

He also played for Red Star Belgrade, Vojvodina, New York Arrows, London BK and Sloboda Uzice; and represented Yugoslavia at the Olympic Games in 1976.

Following the end of his playing career in the late 80’s, Rajevac delved into coaching, where he managed Serbian outfits like Borac Cacak, Red Star and Vojvodina amongst other coaching stints.

He took up the Ghana job in 2008, guiding the Black Stars to the last eight at the World Cup.

Since leaving the role, he has had national team management experience in Qatar, Algeria and Thailand, while he also coached club sides in Saudi Arabia and Slovenia.

Rajevac’s overall record as a manager is far from sparkling, but his achievements with Ghana in his first spell in charge of the team appear to have convinced the FA chiefs that he is worth a second go.

If and when he does get the job, his immediate task will be to get the Black Stars to the World Cup and make them competitive at next year’s Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Despite their slow start to the World Cup qualifiers, Ghana remain well in the hunt for a spot in the Mundial. Bookmakers like 1xBet will have the Black Stars as favourites to get maximum points in the upcoming double-header against Zimbabwe, while the team will be optimistic of gaining revenge against South Africa when they host the Bafana Bafana in the reverse fixture of September’s defeat.

The Black Stars may be underperforming at the moment, but there is quality in this Ghanaian team. The new coach will have the luxury of working with foreign based Stars like the Ayew brothers, Mubarak Wakaso and Jonathan Mensah, as well as a good crop of home-based players.

Ghanaian fans will hope that this team can start playing to its potential and deliver good football and silverware to the country in the coming months.

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