GHANA’S newly-signed Coach Milovan Rajevac must have hit the ground running by naming a pool of 32 players around which he wants to build the Black Stars for the rest of the AFCON and World Cup qualifiers, moments after he had put pen to paper to seal a two-year pact with the Ghana Football Authorities.
The search team must be patted on their back for the swift action in combing the market to get a replacer for CK Akunnor, who was given the exit after a string of unimpressive performance while at the helm of the senior national team, the heartbeat of Ghanaian soccer fans.
It is so refreshing to know that the Serbian trainer was on standby to respond to this crucial national call and with remuneration that appeared affordable to the pocket of the Ghanaian tax payer.
Indeed, the second coming of the ‘messiah’, popularly known as Milo, can only be described as a good combination of “Milo beverage, sugar and milk” to serve the Ghanaian soccer fans a better breakfast.
As they say, “like two peas in a pot”,
it takes a good coach and the combination of support from the football controlling body and the right player attitude to win games and the support and the right attitude would serve as the “sugar and milk” added to the beverage (the efforts of Coach Milo) to get the Ghanaian soccer fans the right taste of the Black Stars at the second coming of the messiah.
Certainly, the Serbian trainer has unfinished agenda for Ghana football, especially with the Black Star. He narrowly missed out annexing the African Cup of Nation for Ghana for the fifth time at the Angola2008 tournament, when the Stars were edged out by the Pharaohs of Egypt at the finals.
Again, Milo-led Black Stars were an inch away from an unprecedented semi-final berth at the 2010 World Cup, when the criminal hand of villain Luis Suarez stopped a goal-bound Dominic Adiyiah header from entering the Uruguayan net, in one of the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Given these near-misses with the Black Stars, Coach Milo would brave the storm to come back again to continue with his unfinished agenda, this time, perhaps, much stronger!
But hang on a moment! The demography of the Black Stars has changed since the last time he left Ghana 11 years ago. Skipper Andre Ayew of Al-Sadd and Jonathan Mensah of Columbus Crew are his old boys who have made it to the squad he has assembled.
He has come back to meet largely new players with different mentality. It, therefore, means he has to work a lot to get them aligned to his strategies.
Of course, getting the right players who are committed to his cause, fit his game plan, and are very exceptional on the field of play rather than those who spend more time in the saloon to style their hairs and have body tattoos.
Again, the historical trend in football does not favour returnee coaches. Just a few to recall. The return of German trainer Burkhard Ziese (now late) to Ghana in 2003 to handle the Stars, after his exploits with the team from 1990-1992 was a disaster! So was the ill-fated return of James Kwesi Appiah to the Black Stars in recent past.
We can also recall the disappointing second coming of Coach Jose Mourinho to Chelsea, after his initial blistering performance with the same team.
Arguably, this may not be scientific enough to make it factual as there are certainly equally few coaches who had staged a better “comebacks,” but suffice it to recall past events for references.
A bit of recall of history: After conquering Africa at the 1963, 1965, 1978, and 1982 AFCONS, Black Stars’ subsequent performances have been strings of heartbreaks and disappointment for nearly 40 years of their search for AFCON title.
The team has lost the accolade “The Brazilians of Africa”, a fitting description earned when we were the only team in Africa then (1978) to have won the AFCON for the third time and for keeps, just as Brazil had won the World Cup then for the third time.
Again, soon, we were to lose the accolade of being the only country to have won the AFCON for the unprecedented fourth time in 1982 and being proud custodians of all the AFCON trophies presented for the Confederation of African Football competition, as Egypt now have surpassed the record, overtaking Ghana as seven-time winners (1957, 1959, 1986, 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010) and Cameroon, who hitherto were nobodies, now equal Ghana’s record, having also won the trophy four times (1988, 2000, 2002, 2017).
Indeed, the stark reality is that Ghana football is stripped naked on the African continent!
And will Coach Milo break the jinx of coaches not coming back much better?
However, as we postulate, you can get a good taste of Milo, with added “sugar and milk.”
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman