ACCRA - Milovan Rajevac, coach of the Ghana's senior national football team, is optimistic that the side could still pick up a fifth title at the end of the African Cup of Nations. This would make him the first foreign coach to achieve the feat with the team.
This three-week tournament kicks off in seven days in Angola.
The absence through injury of experienced and regular players such as captain Stephen Appiah of Italian side Bologna, John Mensah of English Premiership side Sunderland, Fulham's John Paintsil and Laryea Kingston of Scotland's Hearts means the coach must vary his game plan and tactics.
"I know that a foreigner is yet to win the competition and I want to become that first coach to deliver the title and it is possible," Rajevac told journalists last week before the team left Accra for Nelspruit to begin their pre-tournament training.
German trainer Otto Pfister came close to winning the trophy with the Black Stars in 1992 but lost out on penalties to Ivory Coast in Senegal.
Ghana, under Frenchman Claude LeRoy, finished third when it hosted the last edition of the tournament.
Also on the injury list but is expected to recover and join the rest of the team before the commencement of the tournament is Chelsea's midfield kingpin Michael Essien. He limped off clutching his hamstring in Chelsea's Champions League game against APOEL Nicosia.
Rajevac has blended his squad with eight members of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup winning team in Egypt last year. "You can see the coach has brought in talented youngsters who have shown great quality already," said Eric Addo (Roda JC, Holland).
Rajevac has axed Inter Milan's midfielder Sulley Muntari on the grounds of indiscipline.
The Black Stars have been drawn in Group B of the event alongside Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Togo in an all-West African battle. - Sapa-AFP