Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac has resolved his recent rift with Sulley Muntari as he plots the way forward ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Inter Milan midfielder Muntari was axed from last month's CAF Africa Cup of Nations squad due to disciplinary reasons. His absence was barely felt as the Black Stars, who were without several of their other star names through injury, finished runners-up behind Egypt.
However, a lack of experience in Angola was cited by Rajevac as one of the main reason's for the 1-0 loss in the final. And Serbian Rajevac has explained that Muntari's axing may have come about through a miscommunication.
"I was in Milan for two days and I called and sent him messages but he was not responding," Rajevac said. "He didn't get back to me and the decision to leave him out was taken. I spoke to the other players - Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan - who missed the Angola friendly game and asked them if they wanted to play in the Nations Cup and they all said yes.
I was in Milan for two days and I called and sent him messages but he was not responding. He didn't get back to me and the decision to leave him out was taken.
"That was all I wanted to discuss with Muntari. Maybe there was a miscommunication. After that he called to apologise and we have sorted everything out. He's an option that we have and that's good for the team."
Rajevac also admitted he was especially interested in the discussion with Muntari to see whether the 25-year-old could help to convince Inter team-mate Mario Balotelli to represent the west African country. The striker was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, but has declined several call-ups by the Black Stars, outlining instead his intentions to play for Italy, who he has already represented at U-21 level.
Rajevac said: "I was in Milan for two days to talk to Muntari and also Balotelli. I also needed him (Muntari) to help with Balotelli because they are in the same side."
Looking ahead to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where Ghana have been drawn in Group D alongside Germany, Serbia and Australia, the coach pointed out that it will be key to have their best players available. Rajevac added: "We would need all players for the World Cup.
"For such a competition, you need players with experience and we can find that in John Mensah, John Pantsil, [Laryea] Kingston, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari. There are others too. They are very important players for the World Cup but it depends on them. I also require players who are willing to give of their best for Ghana."