Sports News of Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Source: Reuters

Rajevac continues Serbian influence in Ghana

ACCRA, May 19 (Reuters) - Milovan Rajevac has made a rapid ascent from the obscurity of the Serbian provinces to lining up among the 32 coaches at the World Cup.

His success in leading two unfashionable clubs into the UEFA Cup earned him a glowing reputation in his home country and a recommendation to Ghana when they sought a new coach two years ago.

The 56-year-old also benefited from the success of the last man to take Ghana to the World Cup, compatriot Ratomir Dujkovic. Ghana football leaders sought another Serbian for the 2010 qualifying campaign, hoping to emulate the success they had in reaching the 2006 tournament in Germany.

"I have to thank Dujkovic because the Ghanaians were specifically looking for a Serbian coach," said Rajevac in a recent interview.

As a player, Rajevac reached the UEFA Cup final with Red Star Belgrade in 1979. He started as a coach at his home club FC Borak in 1989, and went on to spells in Sweden, Germany and China.

In 2004 he was assistant to World Cup veteran Bora Milutinovic at Al Saad in Qatar before taking over at Novi Sad club Vojvodina.

He led both Borak and Vojvodina into the UEFA Cup competition and when the latter finished an unexpected third in the Serbia Super League in 2007, Rajevac's contemporaries and the sporting press in the country named him best coach.

There was much scepticism in Ghana when he took over in late 2008 as he was far less known than his predecessor.

Rajevac, who described the job as "an adventure", got off to a winning start, leading Ghana through a surprisingly one-sided qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup preliminaries.

Ghana were the first of the African sides to come through the qualifiers and Rajevac's reward is to face his Serbian homeland in Group D, along with Germany and Australia.

His reputation was greatly enhanced when Ghana, with a side weakened by injury to several key players, finished runners-up to Egypt at January's African Nations Cup finals in Angola.