Serbian connection: Today in history: Ghana appoints first Serbian coach

Yugoslav-born Milan Zivadinovic on Tuesday, 2002 signed a two-year renewable contract with the Ghana Football Association as the new coach of the Black Stars.

His immediate task was to prepare the Stars for the 2004 Olympic and All Africa games and the Africa Nations Cup which according to the then Chairman of the Ghana Football Association, Mr Ben Koufie was to be used as a springboard for the 2006 World Cup qualifying matches.

Although, the GFA chairman did not give details of the contract, he said the Coach would be entitled to an official car, accommodation and a Ghanaian assistant.

Zivadinovic , then 58 years said he chose Ghana ahead of other offers not because of the money involved but because of their great players.

“The future of soccer is in Black Africa, I want to help Ghana qualify for the next World Cup,” he said.

Unfortunately the good relationship which began between Ghana and the Serb was short, since he resigned after just four months in charge as the head coach.

The Yugoslav (Serb) decided to leave the job due to his poor health and the harsh “climatic conditions” in Ghana.

Zivadinovic’s resignation followed his sudden departure from Ghana, after the GFA denied him official clearance to leave the country. He sent his resignation letter to the Ghana Football Association (GFA) from Yugoslavia now Serbia.

It was the third time the coach walked out of a contract after quitting his job with the Iraqi national team and Saudi Arabian side Al Nasr.

Zivadinovic was shown the door as Yugoslav manager in 1999 after taking a vacation in the build-up to his team’s preparations to qualify for Euro 2000, during which he reportedly signed a one-year contract to coach in Saudi Arabia.

Yugoslavia later split into modern day Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, hence the Milan Zivadinovic could now be classified as a Serbian coach, since he is specifically a Serbian but the time he was appointed head coach of Ghana, he was a Yugoslav.

Three Serbian coaches after Zivadinovic have managed Ghana: Ratomir Djokovic, Milovan Rajevac and Goran Stevanovic, with Djokovic a nd Milovan guiding Ghana to their first and second World Cup appearances, respectively.

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