Dujkovic steps down as Ghana coach

July 17, 2006

ACCRA, July 17 (Reuters) - Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic quit his post at the weekend, saying he had turned down an offer to extend his contract with the west African national side.

Dujkovic told Reuters he was leaving despite having a contract with Ghana until the end of the year.

The Serbian-born coach led the Black Stars to the World Cup second round in Germany last month on their debut appearance at the finals and in the last three years has earned a reputation as something of a miracle worker in African soccer.

'I think I have proven again what I can do,' he said of his team's World Cup run.

Dujkovic said he was hoping for an appointment elsewhere on the continent or in Europe, adding: 'I have had many offers. I will be studying them to see where I will go next.'

He said he had experienced a difficult stay in Ghana where the media had been hostile to him despite their World Cup achievements. 'They did not support me and made it very frustrating,' he said.

In a letter to the Ghana Football Association, though, Dujkovic cited health reasons for his decision to quit.

A former Yugoslav national team goalkeeper, who narrowly missed out on his country's squad for the World Cup finals in West Germany in 1974, Dujkovic galvanised Ghana's flailing campaign and engineered a remarkable comeback after taking over halfway through the qualifying group in December 2004.

His success with the Black Stars follows his coaching of Rwanda to the 2004 African Nations Cup finals for the first time - ironically at the expense of Ghana.

The 60-year-old is a former national coach of Venezuela and Burma and was on the coaching staff of Red Star Belgrade when they won the European Cup in 1991. Ghana are due to play Nigeria next month in a friendly in London. They will be hosting the next African Nations Cup finals in 2008.