Former Black Stars player, Mohammed Polo, has asked the Ghana Football Association to relieve Serbian Ratomir Dujkovic of his position as coach of the senior national team because of his team's poor performance against the Warriors of Zimbabwe in their final Group D match at the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“The coach has lost his bearings and the best decision as we prepare for the Germany World Cup is an outright dismissal to save the nation from further humiliation,” he told The Statesman in a telephone interview in Accra moments after the game.
The Stars crashed out of the African soccer fiesta after losing 1-2 to the Warriors after a goalless first half that saw the Ghanaians playing their worst game of the tournament.
The Zimbabweans got their first goal through an Issah Ahmed own goal whilst Benjani Mwaruwa got the second. Ghana's consolation goal came from the foot of Baba 'Armando' Adamu in the dying minutes.
Coach Polo, nick named the “the dribbling magician” in his playing days and who was a member of the 1978 Black Stars squad that won the Cup of Nations that year, cautioned that if coach Dujkovic was allowed to continue handling the team, “Ghana might suffer a more severe damage in the early stages of the World Cup.”
Reviewing the Ghana-Zimbabwe match, coach Polo said it was absurd for coach Dujkovic to start his half-fit skipper Stephen Appiah and worse still, play him for the entire game when he had substitutes on the bench.
“There was no game plan until we managed to score the face-saving goal. And to add to that, he made the lone goal scorer in the Senegal match, Matthew Amoah, waste on the bench, why?” he reacted furiously.
But C K Gyamfi, Ghana and Africa's most successful coach in the African Cup of Nations history, was of the opinion that Dujkovic must be retained to take the Stars to the World Cup since “he still has much time to correct his mistakes.” He, however, conceded that the Stars played far bellow average but “this doesn't mean that the coach can't make amends because we're almost six months into the World Cup and any serious coach can correct his mistakes.”
“We shouldn't rush into taking any radical decision on the coach because he's already familiarised with the boys and also studied much about what it takes to get into tough tournaments like the African Cup and the World Cup,” he said, noting that discarding him for a new technical head “will be too costly for the nation to bear at this critical moment.”
On the Stars' performance, the former Federation of International Football Association and Confederation of African Football technical instructor, added: “Ghana still needs a play-maker in addition to Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah, since every team needs one or two players around whom the whole team revolves. This was most evident when we lost Essien and Muntari and also when Appiah was not fully fit in the last match.”
He also reiterated his call for the need for the Black Stars to have a psychologist in the technical team to help psyche them mentally before major tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations and the upcoming World Cup in Germany.
The former Stars captain and coach was, however, hopeful that with much patience and tolerance from the public, Dujkovic could make some head-way in his preparation for the World Cup. “All is not yet lost,” he assured.