With fifteen days to the World Cup, Black Stars coach Ratomir Dujkovic has accused Ghanaians of being ungrateful and claimed credit for the Black Stars qualification to the World Cup.
Dujkovic made the startling accusations against the government and the local media in the renowned German tabloid, Sport Bild.
The coach told the German tabloid that the government of Ghana also wanted him dismissed after the Black Stars' appalling performance at the African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.
Myjoyonline.com reproduces the full text of the interview granted Sport Bild's Tobias Schild by Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic.
SPORT BILD: Mr Dujkovic Ghana has for the first time qualified for the World Cup. What does it mean to Ghana?
Ratomir Dujkovic: A lot. Ghanaians love football. The people are very fanatic. Until now there has been a lot of disappointment despite the talent in players like Anthony Yeboah and Abedi Pele. There was no unity and the team was made of little groups. That is why I introduce strict disciplinary measures when I was appointed manager.
SPORT BILD: You qualified for the WC. Ghana was eliminated from the African Cup of Nations in the first round. You were nearly dismissed as a coach.
Ratomir Dujkovic: That is true. Even the Government wanted me out of the job. 90% of the media called for my sacking. They wanted a local coach to take the team to the WC. I am still very disappointed about the call for my sacking. I cannot simply understand why the whole country is being ungrateful. This is the first time Ghana has qualified for the WC and it is to my credit.
SPORT BILD: Who are you particularly not angry with?
Ratomir Dujkovic: Not anybody in particular. I am very sad because everybody know that we played in the African Cup of Nations without five regular players. That was the team which qualified for the WC.
Ratomir Dujkovic: Did you ever think of resigning. No, because it is my first WC appearance. It is the highest point of my carrier as coach. I want to be there by all means and I will do everything to qualify from the group.
SPORT BILD: What is your future after the WC? Are going to coach Ghana for the 2010 at South Africa?
Ratomir Dujkovic: I do not think so. My contract ends at December 2006. Perhaps I will be sacked by then. I might also resign. The disappointment is so big that I do not want to train the team anymore. I am not a person who can work where I am not loved.
SPORT BILD: How far do you think Ghana should reach before you will be loved again?
Ratomir Dujkovic: Semi- finals, at least. After we qualified for the WC everybody thought we were the best in the world. At the press conference before our departure, I was asked if I will bring the cup to Ghana. I just laughed. The people are very unrealistic.
SPORT BILD: At the beginning of your work in Ghana you took an unpopular decision by sacking ex- Bayern Munich player Sammy Kuffour, Ghana's captain from the team. Why?
Ratomir Dujkovic: Because he wanted to hold himself as a star. First of all he declined to play in my first match as coach against Ajax Amsterdam because he had to attend to his sick wife. Three days later he played in a fund raising match for the Tsunami victims in Barcelona. Against Congo he excuses himself for being sick... He later issued a statement in the media labelling us as liars and that he was never injured.
SPORT BILD: Have you talk to him about it?
Ratomir Dujkovic: I told him if he ever wants to play for Ghana then he must apologise to the FA. That is why I never invited during the qualification. But do you know something?
SPORT BILD: Tell me.
Ratomir Dujkovic: That was the key to our success. Discipline is the biggest problem with Black Africans. They have none. Africans have a different mentality from Europeans or the South Americans. But as I sacked Sammy from the team everybody knew not to play with me. That it is only discipline and camaraderie which works.
SPORT BILD: Nevertheless, you have called him again. Has he apologised to you.
Ratomir Dujkovic: No, but I am flexible. I called him after the qualification. This WC is the biggest we can achieve or hope for. I will call the devil if he can help me. And Sammy has learnt. He is not demanding any special treatment anymore.