Milovan Rajevac sticks by his trusted men


There was no press conference and nothing like the envisaged firework exchange of views that comes with occasions like this. Instead, Rajevac presented his list to the emergency committee of the GFA and headed out to Qatar to watch Qunicy Owusu-Abeyie.

That though won't stop the debate about who should have been in and is out and who is in and undeserving of their place.

Stephen Appiah is likely to spark the most passionate debate. He has barely played competitively at club level and there are those, myself not included who feel passionately his time has come.

Then there are those who feel passionately that he deserves another crack at the big time, that for all the remarkable work he has put into the Black Stars the least he deserves is his chance to fight for a place in the side.

He more than anything else epitomises the difficulty is figuring out exactly what is the criteria for calling up players. If playing every week at club level, then Richard Kingston who has played more games in the last four years for country than club would not have made the cut. Yet he is by some distance the country's best goalkeeper. His competition will come in the form of Stephen Ahorlu and Stephen Adams who has both emerged strongly on the local scene and dislodged Daniel Adjei from the local Black Stars in the process.

Eric Addo was thought of potentially as the man who could miss out from the experienced crew but in the end it seems his versatility won him more time even though from everything that has happened this week, he is sitting on a knife edge.

One of the first reactions to the squad inevitably is why include unfit players. John Mensah plays one game, and then sits out another. Michael Essien isn't sure he will make the cut for the World Cup. And yet those are not players you drop at a canter.

The thinking clearly is to give them as much time as possible in the hope that by May 31 when the final squad is named or at the latest June 13 when Ghana is due to open to their World Cup campaign against Serbia in Pretoria.

On that day many Ghanaians will be hoping a certain Kevin-Prince Boateng will be available. He is among the thirty players in the provisional squad. That he has been included when the switch is yet to be formalised may be a sign of the confidence the Ghanaian authorities have in getting it done. And if it happens, then Ghana would land an absolute gem of player who should add a great to the side.

Some players must have been thanking their stars on seeing their names on the list. Derek Boateng has been playing some of the best football of his life but did not really seem to be what Milovan Rajevac wanted.

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie took his first chance with Rajevac too lightly way back in September 2008 lightly and paid the heavy price for it with exclusion for more than a year but both have their chance again to back up the hype that preceded their call-up.

Rajevac promised a mix of experience and youth and the youthful component is represented heavily by six members of the national Under-20 side who won the World Cup in Egypt.

Daniel Adjei has not convinced much since then and Dominic Adiyiah has the glamorous AC Milan by his name but no games to show for. But Dede Ayew is having a fine season even if it is in the French Division 2.

Agyemang Badu is warming his way into Udinese and Samuel Inkoom has become a regular at Basle.

All of them will head to Paris confident they can clinch a place in the final 23 list so in many ways this is where the hard work begins. And this is where too the second engine of the rumour mill goes into full motion.