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28.03.2005 Football News

Dujkovic reassures Kuffuor

By BBC

Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic has assured Bayern Munich defender Samuel Osei Kuffuor that he still has a future with the Black Stars.

However the coach added that Kuffuor must stay in shape if he wants to play in future matches.

Kuffuor did not play for the Black Stars as they drew 1-1 against DR Congo in Sunday's 2006 World Cup in Kinshasa amidst claims that he was injured; something that the player strongly disputes.

The Serbian coach told BBC Sport that he had taken the decision not to include Kuffuor in the side on sound advice.

"Someone from the Ghana Football Association told me Kuffuor was injured and I accepted that because the player didn't tell me anything to the contrary," Dujkovic said after the match in Kinshasa.

"If one player is injured and can't make a 100 per cent recovery then he can't play in such an important match.

"I will always call the best group of players who are active at any given time for Ghana.

"I don't care about the names, that is my simple logic."

Dujkovic added that he will consider Kuffuor for the remaining qualifiers if the defender remains in good shape.

"I will definitely call up Kuffuor if he is in good condition and his performances are good," he added.

"I hope he starts playing again soon for Bayern Munich or wherever he plays next.

"But the most important thing for me as a coach and I think for every Ghanaian is that we get the World Cup ticket and not which players play.

"I am in charge of that, I make those decisions."

Dujkovic also urged Kuffuor to start putting the nation's interest first as the race for a 2006 World Cup place gathers momentum.

"When I called up Kuffuor for our friendly match against Ajax, I was disappointed that he didn't turn up because he said his wife was ill," Dujkovic pointed out.

"But I don't feel that is an acceptable excuse, I understand the family is important but I think that at the moment qualifying is even more crucial."

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