Milovan Rajevac – to stay or not to stay?

The Stars are home to a tumultuous welcome. The spirits of fans, players and officials were afloat when the gallant Black Stars touched down at the Kotoka International Airport. Even though the stars were to touch down at 23:00 GMT, chanting fans started gathering as early as 16:00 GMT, setting the atmosphere for an uncontrollable welcome party. As early as 6:00 AM on Tuesday morning, fans were seen having a jam with some of the players at the Aphrodisiac Night Club.

Suarez and his cheating antics may have robbed them off the opportunity to write their names in the history books, but Ghana’s Black Stars will remain the heroes of our time. But the unflinching faith of the team can be summed up in the statement of Captain Stephen Appiah when the team touched down ‘..I am not a prophet, but I can promise you that we shall qualify for 2014 and go to Brazil as title contenders’

While the nation celebrates the incremental successes of the Black Stars, a pertinent question will linger – Will Milovan Rajevac’s contract be renewed?

Proponents of domestic coaches have made it clear that even if Rajevac had won the cup for Ghana, he will still have to be replaced by a Ghanaian coach. Even if the local coaches struggle to manage the egos of the big stars, as has been the case in the past, leading to team implosion, Ghana is still better off in the hands of a domestic coach.

Another school of thought is that Rajevac is not a good coach. He has since taking over the team, turned it into a retrogressive, defensive team which plays anti-football. He cannot communicate with the team and refuses to work with the available local coach for the effective scouting of home-based players.

Several Ghanaians hold strongly to these views, arguing consistently that Rajevac is clueless and is not befitting of a mighty football nation like Ghana. His call-ups are ill informed and his substitutions are suspect. Thus, Rajevac should be sacked with immediate effect.

Rajeva’s faults and weaknesses aside, what are the real long-run benefits in letting Rajevac go?

First, Rajevac’s records speak for itself. In the shortest time since he took over, Rajevac’s playing philosophy may not have fit into the national culture (of beautiful football), but he has taken Ghana to the finals of the CHAN (African Nations Cup for home based players), Angola 2010 African Nations Cup and now the quarter finals of the World Cup.

This is the best any coach has done for Ghana since 1982.

Again, even though Rajevac cannot take credit for the amazing team atmosphere (usually credited to the leadership style Stephen Appiah) or the quality of players in camp (who were discovered and included by his predecessors), no one can deny him the credit of instilling tactical discipline into the team. Under Rajevac, Ghana’s future has brightened up because he will not continue the status quo of using worn out players. Under Rajevac, younger players have been given the chance to learn on the job and grow naturally.

Thirdly, Rajevac is on record to have said that he will be willing to stay if the Ghana FA extends his contract. Here in lies the opportunity to give the Black Stars a consistent coach for the first time in several decades.

There are 2 major tournaments ahead of Brazil 2014; London 2012 Olympic Games and African Nations Cup 2013. These two tournaments could be given to Rajevac to incubate a World Cup winning team for Brazil. Many of the players in the present Black Stars team will be available for the London 2012 Olympic Games. If the Olympic team (Black Meteors) is added to Rajevac’s responsibilities, he could use the games as an opportunity to discover and groom some of these young boys ahead of Brazil 2014. Performing players will then be ready to lift the African Nations Cup 2012 and Ghana will go to Brazil as African Champions.

Rumour has it that Qatari side Al-Sadd have line up a mouth-watering USD 100,000 per week to sign this tactically apt coach. Even if the Ghana FA decides to extend his contract, will they be able to raise the funds to make their bid more competitive?

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