Rajevac: We need to be there

Milovan Rajevac has reiterated his commitment to lead the Black Stars to their second successive FIFA World Cup in South Africa next year even though it is still early days in the final stage of African qualification.

The Black Stars arguably face their biggest test of character under his stewardship in a tough second round 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the ever-improving Malian side in Bamako on 7 June.

"The priority is to qualify for South Africa; we have to be part of the World Cup and that is our primary goal," he told FIFA.com. "But we also have to be at the Africa Cup of Nations and do well. We want to win each game, as that helps build our momentum. We think all our matches are going to be tough, there are no easy games at this stage, but we want to win and we will play to win."

The Serbian, who succeeded Claude Le Roy, is the first to admit that Mali will be tough opponents, but he is also aware that this game that might shape the team's future as they seek qualification to world football's showpiece event.

The game is significant for both sides with Ghana looking to underline their credentials and the Malians seeking their first win in the section, following their disappointing draw against Sudan in the last round of fixtures. However, the home team will be no easy take for the Ghanaians, especially with Barcelona's Seydou Keita, former CAF Player of the Year, Frederic Kanoute and Juventus' Mohammed Sissoko in their ranks.

We want to win each game, as that helps build our momentum.
Milovan Rajevac on Ghana's attitude.

"They have excellent and exciting individuals playing in the best teams in Europe," said Rajevac. "You cannot underestimate them. They want to win, but we also want good results from this match. We have the psychological edge and we have to use it."

Although Ghana have been boosted by the news that Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou will be unavailable for the match, they have injury problems of their own, prompting the call up of Zamalek striker Junior Agogo for the match.

Although Agogo has spent most of his career in England's lower leagues, his impressed strike rate of 11 goals in 25 games for his country is one that Rajevac is hoping could fire his team to South Africa next June.

"I'm a bit concerned about his match fitness, but I know he has been training very hard. Junior is a good player, he works hard and I trust him. At this time of the year, players are going to the off-season and it's not uncommon for most of them to carry injuries. As a coach, I expect that, I can't do anything about it."