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Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 18:11 UK

Rajevac seeks respect from media

By Michael Oti Adjei
BBC Sport, Accra

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac
Milovan Rajevac wants more respect from the Ghanaian media

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac is demanding respect from the country's media after his side's recent heroics in the World Cup qualifiers.

He has gone from zero to hero as the Black Stars have a five-point lead at the halfway stage of the qualifiers.

In less than a year in charge, the Serbian knows that a country that gave him a cold welcome may well be warming to him so soon.

Ghana's three wins so far in the second phase of the qualifiers has left the Black Stars in prime position to make their second successive World Cup appearance.

Mali are the closest challengers to the Black Stars on four points.

As early as 6 September when the next round of matches in Group D are played, the Black Stars could celebrate a place at South Africa 2010 if Mali draw with Benin and Ghana pick up all three points against Sudan at home.

Even if it does not happen that early, Rajevac feels he has done enough to earn the admiration of a nation where football critics abound.

"Now Ghanaians are getting to know me better and I hope that will come with more respect", he said.

"The more time we spend together, the better I think we will come."

Rajevac was the surprise choice for Ghana coach when Claude LeRoy departed after the 2008 Nations Cup.

His English, which is Ghana's official language, was poor and he had no previous experience of the African terrain or of national team coaching.

When Ghana lost away to Libya in a World Cup qualifier and then later in the finals of the Africa Nations Championship(CHAN), criticism of the Serbian rose to deafening levels.

Now the Ghana Football Association president Kwasi Nyantakyi says those critics must own up.

"This is the point that I expect objective critics and reviewers to come out and say yes we eat humble pie, Nyantakyi said.

"When we came back from CHAN I heard a lot of criticism of the coach but I knew he was not the reason. I think people should now rally behind the coach and support him."

His players have been full of praise for him too.

Striker Matthew Amoah says he has given many of the players a level of confidence that was not there in the past while John Paintsil says his reading of the game has been spot on.

If the Black Stars get the remaining four points that will surely confirm their place at the 2010 World Cup, the man who was mocked as a nobody when he signed on the dotted line will take pride of place in Ghana's football history.

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see also
Amoah gives Ghana perfect start
20 Jun 09 |  African
Appiah backs new coach Rajevac
15 Aug 08 |  African
2010 World Cup
09 Sep 09 |  African

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