Serbian tactician; Milovan Rajevac is set to miss out on the Black Stars’ coaching job after failing to make the Ghana Football Association’s (GFA) five-man shortlist.
The three-man Committee tasked with the responsibility of appointing a new coach for the Black Stars has instead settled on former Chelsea coach Avram Grant, Dutch assistant coach Patrick Kluivert, Marco Tardelli, former Swiss assistant coach Michel Pont and former Valadollid coach Juan Ignacio Martinez as possible candidates for the Ghana job.
Veteran coach, Giovanni Trapatonni was shortlisted for the job but wrote to the Ghana Football Association to withdraw his application, citing ill-health and his advancing age as his reasons. The GFA is set to enter negotiations with the five-shortlisted applicants in the coming days after which a decision on who to appoint will be made.
Our sources at the Ghana Football Association did not give any official reason for Milovan’s omission from the shortlisted applicants but hinted that excessive financial demands which included a €70,000 monthly salary, a $600,000 signing-on fee, his own backroom staff to be paid by the GFA, plus other demands seemed too costly for the GFA.
Milovan’s failure to make the five-man shortlist will come as a surprise to many Ghanaians who may have thought that the appointment of the Serb was only a matter of time and a formality.
Rajevec was seen as the obvious choice when the GFA announced its intentions of hiring a Technical Advisor to assist then coach, Kwesi Appiah. He was first to arrive in Ghana for negotiations but it is believed that in addition to his high demands, he also scored low marks and thus was snubbed by the GFA.
Rajevec is not new to Ghana and is best remembered for masterminding Ghana’s brilliant campaign at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa where but for a missed penalty, Ghana would have become the first African Country to reach the semi-final of the World Cup. Milovan also guided the Black Stars to the grand finale of the 2010 Nations Cup in Angola.
He however angered a lot of Ghanaians when he unceremoniously deserted Ghana for the riches of the Gulf after the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The Ghana Football Association is bent on naming a new coach for the senior national team by October 15, 2014.
Below is a brief background about the five shortlisted applicants for the Black Stars job
Avram Grant: Is a Former Chelsea manager who was recently appointed technical director at Thai Premier League club BEC Tero Sasana. The 59-year-old Israeli took over the role once held by former England manger Sven-Goran Eriksson, who lasted only a matter of weeks in 2012 before leaving for the United Arab Emirates and then China. Avram Grant has also managed English sides West Ham United and Portsmouth, Serbians Partizan Belgrade and the Israeli national team.
Patrick Kluivert: Patrick Kluivert is a former Barcelona striker and a Dutch icon. Kluivert, 38, was assistant to Louis van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup as the Netherlands finished third in Brazil. He has yet to manage a club in his own right but did spend a year with FC Twente’s reserves and had spells at AZ Alkmaar and as NEC Nijmegen assistant.
The 38-year-old helped bring through European and former world champions Pedro and Sergio Busquets while at the Nou Camp. He also spent a short time as assistant manager to the late Tito Vilanova two years ago. Kluivert helped Ajax to their famous 1995 Champions League triumph, scoring the winning goal against AC Milan in Vienna, and had a lengthy spell at Barca after a year at Milan. He earned 79 caps for the Netherlands national team over a decade.
Marco Tardelli: Tardelli is a former Italian star who started his managing career as head coach of the Under 16 Italian national team in 1988, immediately after his retirement.
Two years later, he became the assistant coach of Cesare Maldini for the Under 21 team. In 1993 he switched to Como of Serie C1. He led Como to promotion into Serie B, but was unable to avoid relegation. In 1995 he took over Cesena, another Serie B team. Tardelli would spend three seasons with Cesena before leaving to become head coach of the Italian Under 21 team. He won the Under 21 European Championship, the following year.
His success with the Italian Under 21 side led Tardelli to became the manager of Inter Milan for the 2000–01 season. His tenure with the Nerazzurri would be short; following a string of embarrassing defeats especially a 6–0 defeat to local rivals AC Milan, Tardelli was fired in June 2001.
Tardelli did not have much luck in the coaching jobs that followed, which included spells with Bari, and the Egyptian national team. In February 2008, he joined the coaching staff of the Republic of Ireland national team as an assistant manager to the recently appointed Giovanni Trapattoni. He was reunited with former Juventus teammate Liam Brady, who was also named as Trapattoni’s assistant. Tardelli parted ways with the Republic of Ireland national team on 11 September 2013 by mutual consent, after a defeat by Austria the previous day.
Michel Pont: Swiss born Pont enjoyed a successful coaching career with Servette in his homeland, winning a league title. He is vastly experienced in international football having served as assistant manager of the Swiss national team since 2001.He left his position after the world cup in Brazil following the retirement of Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Juan Ignacio Martinez: Martínez began managing in 1997, his first stop being precisely Alicante.
In the following years, he coached several teams in the lower leagues – also working in youth and women’s football. In the 2005–06 season, Martínez led FC Cartagena to the first position in division three. He first reached the professionals in the 2007–08 campaign, coaching UD Salamanca to a final seventh place in the second level.
Affectionately known as “JIM” (his full name’s initials), he was appointed at La Liga side Levante on 9 June 2011, replacing Getafe CF-bound Luis García. After two draws in the first two rounds, Martínez coached the team to seven consecutive wins; including a 1–0 home triumph against Real Madrid which meant it led the league during several rounds.
Until recently, he was coached of Real Valladolid but could not save them from going to relegation in the Spanish top flight. Valladolid parted ways with him after he sent them into relegation.