2022 WCQ: ‘No time to make big changes’ – Milo talks Zimbabwe vs Ghana
Black Stars coach, Milovan Rajevac has said among many other things he does not have the luxury to make big changes to his squad as Ghana battle Zimbabwe away in a crucial Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
The Serbian tactician after guiding the Stars to a hard-fought 3-1 win in his first game on his second bow, is hoping to get a double over the Warriors to advance the team’s course of being among the top 10 countries to reach the final round of the African qualifiers.
In a pre-match press conference on Monday, the 67-year-old also said he expects his players to react positively against the dreaded Warriors who troubled Ghana when they met in Cape Coast last Saturday.
Read on for the full transcript:
Coach on what he is looking forward to in Harare
First of all, I will like to thank Zimbabwe for their hospitality. This is my first time in Harare so we feel warmly welcomed and I am very happy to be here. As we all know, this is a very important match for us and we expect a tough match. We respect the team we are playing against and we have a clear target, which is to qualify for the World Cup so we are going to do everything in our power to put good performance tomorrow and try to win.
On pressure on his second debut and how important it is to win
Definitely, for us, it is very important and we have our target and we know it is not going to be easy. The first match was also not easy because, in some parts of the match, Zimbabwe showed they also have quality. At the beginning of the second half, we were facing some difficulties which show there is no easy match and it is important to concentrate throughout the match to try to prepare a good game plan and to reach appropriately in some moment. I have faith and confidence in my players and I know they will do their best so we are hoping for a positive result. As I said, this is very important for us so we are trying to be positive all the time and not feel the pressure but confident for the match.
Gameplan for Tuesday and what Ghanaians should expect
I’ve been here for a short time and we are getting to know each other very well and it is difficult to make big changes in this short period of time but I think we are growing and we are improving. In every next match, I suppose we make fewer mistakes and try to improve our performance. These players are learning quickly and they are determined because they know what is at stake and so they are aware of the task. We function together and last match, we managed to have a positive result, which is very important. We don’t take time for experiments, we need to have good results and we are all aware of that so we will do our best to make it happen.
Pressure to qualify for World Cup
In this kind of job and especially in this kind of situation, you have to learn how to manage the pressure. For us, it is a must-win match and every next match is the most important and hardest match so let’s take one step at a time. We have confidence and so we will learn how to handle the pressure because if you cannot handle pressure, you can’t succeed in this game. It is something that we have to cope with and I think we will do that successfully.
On Jordan Ayew and whether he will start on Tuesday
I never reveal the starting line-up the day before the match because this is not the way I do my work but the goal scorers and attackers often come to face crisis and in these circumstances, they are trying to overcome the problem and start scoring to make their performance better. We are here and we talk to him [Jordan Ayew]. He feels the support he gets from everybody. Whether he starts or comes as a substitute later in the game, we count on all of our players. As I always say, it is important to start the match in an appropriate way and to finish it in the right way.
Zimbabwe – who only arrived back home from the weekend’s game in Cape Coast – will host Ghana behind closed doors at the National Stadium in Harare. Kickoff is 13:00 GMT.
A win for the Black Stars puts pressure on Group G leaders South Africa who also host Ethiopia later in the day.