Former Black Stars coach, Milovan Rajevac is optimistic that his stints with Ghana and the lessons he picked up while coaching the West African side will come in handy as he prepares to guide Algeria to the 2017 African Cup of Nations and the last stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The 62-year-old Serb was last month appointed as new head coach of Algeria following the resignation of Christian Gourcuff.
Rajevac, who is seen by many as one of the most successful expatriate coaches to manage the Black Stars, has been tasked with the responsibility of qualifying Algeria to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and also winning the 2017 African Cup of Nations to be staged in Gabon.
Present at the last two world finals, Algeria are hoping to make it three in a row for the first time in their history. But first, they have to beat off competition from giants Cameroon, Nigeria and Zambia for the one World Cup slot allotted to Group B.
Rajevac has described the group as the “group of death,” but says he is confident that his exploits with Ghana put him at an advantage.
Speaking to FIFA.com, Rajevac, who led Ghana to the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, said, “I picked up a lot of experience with Ghana, which is really going to help me with Algeria.
But if I’m going to achieve as much as I did with Ghana, then everyone will need to pull together: the players, the national FA, the media, the fans and the coaching staff.
“With Ghana, we qualified for the World Cup after just four matches, in which we scored seven goals and didn’t concede any. I’m going to try and take the Algeria team forward in every area so that we can reach the same level.”
As for the demands of managing a squad featuring several big-name players, Rajevac felt his experience of handling a similarly high-profile group during his Ghana days would stand him in good stead.
“It’s a pleasure to work with the stars of the Algeria team. I coached some big players in Ghana, like Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari, and I never had any problems managing the team. When the coach does his job, team discipline isn’t an issue.
I’ve always tried to ensure that I’ve got cover for each position in case there are any mishaps, and I’ve never had any problems.”