Milo to Return?

And the new Ghana coach is drum roll please… the old one? Milovan Rajevac? In Ghana you’re more likely to get a roll of the eyes at that suggestion before you get anything resembling the sound of a drum.

Rajevac was in Dubai when the Black Stars played against Saudi Arabia and has reportedly expressed interest in returning as coach of Ghana’s senior national team. He can only opt out of his contract in January according to the report. And according to this report the idea is gathering steam.

The search committee will likely have some extensive criteria to choose the next Black Stars coach. I am almost certain that outside of a coach’s competence and qualifications, there will be an issue of cost among other factors. Whatever criteria they have settled on, Rajevac would most undoubtedly be one of the most ideal candidates and if the reports are to be believed, it is good to see him on the nine-man list that the committee has decided on.

With Rajevac, there would be no breaking in period. Like a pair of new jeans, a new coach will have to be broken in. He will have to learn the players, may introduce new tactics during games and new training methods which may take a while for the players to adapt to. He will also have to get used to the Ghanaian media and culture. We are almost half way through qualifying for the 2012 Cup of Nations tournament. Our next two matches are against Congo- first away and then at home. A win away is no guarantee and with Sudan breathing down our necks it is not inconceivable that we would be struggling to qualify after the next two matches. Nothing is guaranteed in life and even with Rajevac at the helm, we could find ourselves in a similar position struggling to qualify. I say that is unlikely. In short, there are many more uncertainties that come with hiring a totally new face to Ghanaian football than Monsieur Rajevac.

The Ghana Football Association’s stated goals for the next few years are to win the 2012 African Cup of Nations, and possibly the 2013 edition as well. The new coach will also be tasked with qualifying for the next World Cup in Brazil, what would be the third in a row. Who better to pursue those goals than the coach who for the last two years has brought us some of our best results?

The main concern with choosing Rajevac would be the backlash the GFA and Rajevac would feel from some segments of the Ghanaian public. Some will point to greed, others will point to this moment being the chance to hire a Ghanaian (black man as Marcel Desailly is still French the last I checked), and others may mention betrayal. Some will even argue that second acts rarely work out as well as the first.

Those who aggressively championed the appointment of a Ghanaian coach have piped down in the last few months as Coach Kwesi Appiah presided over a couple of drab results. As for the greed angle, I like to think of it as Milo trying to maximize his earnings. And it is hard to argue betrayal against a person who coached the team without a contract. Name me other coaches, local or foreign who in this day and age would want to work without a contract. Another potential problem which could be a factor is ongoing legal action his former agents have initiated against him. Would it hold up any negotiations regarding his contract. To the issue of second act, this is not music, or a romantic relationship. Besides, it is hard to see it as a second act. It is not as though a substantive coach has been appointed and then fired in the time Rajevac has been away. I look at appointing Rajevac again as more of a sabbatical. Given the bond between him and his players, I venture to say re establishing a working relationship will not be hard.

And if you are in the results game Rajevac is still the most sensible option – if he is indeed available.

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