Formerly known as the Gold Coast and home to Lake Volta, the largest reservoir by surface in the world, Ghana are one of the most successful footballing nations in all Africa. But despite their undoubted talents, the Black Stars only made their first World Cup finals appearance in 2006, as a group of stars under Ratomir Dujkovic made the knockout phase. The success of Dujkovic paved the way for another Serbian, Milovan Rajevac, to qualify the country for their second consecutive World Cup.

Ghana’s World Cup qualifying campaign doubles as that for the African Nations Cup in Angola. In that tournament a team of young unknowns took the country all the way to the final, eventually losing out to Egypt, but gaining great credit in the end. Rajevac’s focus will now be on overcoming Serbia, Australia and Germany in Group D.

The Coach

Milovan Rajevac (SRB)
56 years old

The Serbia coach, a former Red Star Belgrade defender, joined the Black Stars in August 2008, his first job in Africa, becoming the third Serbian to take charge of Ghana out of 22 foreign coaches since 1958. The 56-year-old was reported to be preferred for the job due to his low salary expectations of $54,000 per month. Rajevac has managed to emulate his countryman Dujkovic by taking Ghana to a World Cup.

Upon his arrival to replace Frenchman Claude Le Roy, Rajevac pleaded to be judged on results rather than his origin and style of play. Sometimes criticised for being too defensive, his battle against home country Serbia will be crucial. “A lot has been said about this World Cup being an African World Cup. For us, we don’t want to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure”, said the Serbian. “The most important thing is to get results – first in the group stage and then in the knockout stage”.

Players to watch

Stephen Appiah
29 years old
Bologna (ITA)

The flag-flying national team captain, Stephen Appiah has enjoyed top flight football in Italy and Turkey, shining at Parma and Juventus especially. Although injuries have hampered a promising career, Appiah is still rated amongst the world’s best midfielders on his day and for Ghana he truly carries the hopes of the nation on his shoulders. Missed the African Nations Cup due to injury, but on a mission to make a second World Cup appearance and lead the Black Stars through, Appiah’s experience will be crucial.



Asamoah Gyan
24 years old
Rennes (FRA)

A reliable forward in front of goal, technically gifted and powerful with both left and right foot, Gyan commands respect from opposition defences. The 24-year-old scored the Black Stars first World Cup goal and also the fastest goal of the 2006 tournament. His driving runs can mesmerise defenders. Although injury prone, when fit Gyan is a valuable asset.

John Mensah
27 years old
Olymbique Lyonnais (FRA)

Keeping surgeons waiting because Ghana need him, Mensah is Appiah’s right hand man. Rated as one of the best, most reliable and uncompromising defenders, the Lyon man chose to postpone surgery on a calf injury in order to make the World Cup and marshal the backline – a job he has been entrusted with since 2001.

Kwadwo Asamoah
21 years old
Udinese (ITA)

Not yet a household name, the Italian based Udinese midfielder has managed to make backpages and headlines already. Asamoah made his international debut in 2008, aged 19, and has not looked back since. Physically strong and extremely attack minded, the midfielder’s silky skills massively contributed to the Under-20 FIFA World Cup side that lifted the trophy in Egypt in 2009 and also helped Ghana reach the African Nations Cup final in Angola.

The view from Ghana

At the World Cup for just the second time, the team is expected to continue where they left off in Germany 2006. Knocked out in the last 16 at their first attempts by the mighty Brazil was not a bad result, but this time in South Africa the Black Stars will be looking to go a step further. “The group we are in is tough, but if all our players are fit and we get lucky to qualify from the group, a quarter-final spot will be satisfactory”, believes local journalist Maurice Quansah.


If there is any African team in the World Cup capable of causing upsets and going all the way it’s Ghana. The disciplinarian coach has magnificently implanted a defensive, but winning, method into a team already capable of scoring. If the players hold their nerve and let togetherness rule, Ghana’s expectations can be exceeded. Provided key players are fit and in form, a semi-final place is realistic.

Did you know?

The Black Stars have never won a big tournament under a foreign coach and if the gold of the World Cup is to go to the Gold Coast, then Milovan Rajevac will soon have a golden statue in Accra.

Group games

13/06/10: Ghana  1 – 0  Serbia     –   Tshwane/Pretoria
19/06/10: Ghana  1 – 1  Australia     –   Rustenburg
23/06/10: Ghana  0 – 1  Germany     –   Soccer City, Johannesburg