‘Ghanaian’ Rajevac’s heart beats for Serbia | sports | Hindustan Times
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‘Ghanaian’ Rajevac’s heart beats for Serbia

A lifelong United nut, Dennis Law had said the worst moment in his career was the goal he scored to send the Red Devils into second division. Roberto Baggio once famously refused to take a penalty for Juventus against Fiorentina who had just sold him, reports Dhiman Sarkar.

sports Updated: Jun 15, 2010 01:30 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

A lifelong United nut, Dennis Law had said the worst moment in his career was the goal he scored to send the Red Devils into second division. Roberto Baggio once famously refused to take a penalty for Juventus against Fiorentina who had just sold him.

And in Germany four years ago, Zico, standing some distance away from the rest of the bench, sang his national anthem when Japan played Brazil in Dortmund.

Milovan Rajevac may or may not have done a Zico in Pretoria but he certainly didn't baulk at being a Balkan. Up against his friend Radomir Antic, the Serbia coach, and his young country, made Sunday's 1-0 win a bittersweet victory. One that somewhat tempered the exuberance of doing a first for Africa.

Looking subdued after the match, the 56-year-old Rajevac said he wished Serbia get “six points from their remaining two games”.

“It was a very difficult game to lead, to coach emotionally and from a tactical point of view. We had to maintain our level of concentration throughout the game.

“I congratulate Serbia and, of course, my team. Serbia are a very good team, with very good individual players. They played a wise game and perhaps we got more lucky,” he said, after securing what could be Ghana's passport to the second round from Group D.

Rajevac agreed the win through Asamoah Gyan's 85th minute penalty augured well for “myself and my job” but followed that up by saying “I know and feel for Serbia. I tried to concentrate on my professional duty. I wish them (Serbia) all the luck.”

He then spoke of Serbia continuing the Yugoslav tradition of football, highlighted Croatia's achievement of finishing third in 1998 and congratulated Antic for getting the four-year-old country to their first finals.

In the face of persistent questioning though, Rajevac did also speak about the significance of this win for Africa. But even that wasn't without praise for Serbia.

“This is the first time an African team has won against a great European national team, I am happy if all of Africa is happy. The way to talk, to express yourself is to do it on the pitch. That's how things work for us.”