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15.02.2005 Football News

Stars’ Coach Search For Strikers

By Maurice Quansah
Stars’ Coach Search For Strikers
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Black Stars coach Ratomir Dujkovic has widened his search in Europe for sharp strikers as he plans an all-out assault on DR Congo in Kinshasa next month.

After watching his side lose 1-2 to Ajax Amsterdam last week, the Serbian coach has identified the Stars attack as the weakest department of his team, and with the Kinshasa match so crucial to the Stars' qualification,he is looking at the available striking options and thus spreading his net wider.

During his two-week stay in Europe, Dujkovic hopes to monitor closely Arminia Bielefeld's striker Isaac Boakye, who has reportedly picked up another injury in the German Bundesliga that could rule him out of the March 27 showdown.

By the time Dujkovic returns to Accra to strategise for Ghana's all-important World Cup qualifier,he hopes to have a clearer picture of the composition of his foreign legion, as he already has an idea of which local players to fall on.

Despite making a losing start with a hurriedly assembled national Dujkovic and the Ghana Football Association(GFA)Management Board chairman, Dr N. Nyaho-Tamakloe,are looking into the future with great hope after observing the predominantly the coach work with his foreign-based players for the first time.

With barely six weeks to the crucial qualifier in Kinshasa, Ghana does not have the luxury of time to get the Stars in top shape hence the decision to spend two weeks in Europe to monitor and meet the players.

While the scouting exercise is in progress the GFA is looking at various options for another trial match before the Stars invade Kinshasa for what could probably be their toughest game of the qualifiers.

The Serbian coach is expected to reassemble the local players after the Coca-Cola Top 4 tournament and move his squad to a location in East Africa for a week-long final brush-up for the Simbas.

At the end of last week's clash Coach Dujkovic rated the team's performance above those against Cape Verde and DR Congo, but conceded that his players still had question marks over their conditioning.

Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe told the Graphic Sports that the FA was working out the possibility of arranging another international friendly for the Stars before the March 27 game, with the likelihood of Ajax visiting Ghana for a return encounter also on the FA's cards for consideration.

That option,however,looks quite a remote possibility in view of the rather tight European calendar. The GFA boss hinted that he would even plead with the sport's continental governing body to postpone the CAF inter-club matches involving Accra Hearts of Oak, Kumasi Asante Kotoko and King Faisal till after March 27, to provide Coach Dujkovic adequate time to prepare the team.

Last Wednesday's friendly match may have given the Serbian coach valuable insights of his team's strength, weakness and general battle readiness of his charges.

With the notable absence of deputy skipper Samuel Osei Kuffour and Michael Essien, Coach Dujkovic enjoyed tremendous co-operation from his players including skipper Stephen Appiah.

The FA chairman, who together with the coach held a number of meetings with the players, described the players' response and attitude as “very serious”,although coach Dujkovic was reportedly upset with Kuffour's indifferent attitude towards the Ajax match.

The Bayern Munich defender after failing to respond to several invitations, finally asked to be excused from the match in order to attend to his sick wife, an excuse that did not sit well with the coach,this paper has learnt.

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