Road to South Africa

Ghana still chasing Balotelli

December 2, 2009

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac is optimistic he will be able to convince Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli to play for his team at the World Cup finals in South Africa. The Italy Under-21 forward grew up in Italy but is of Ghanaian descent and is eligible to play for the Ghana team having never played for Italy at senior level.

Patrick Vieira
GettyImages / Mario BalotelliMario Balotelli: Out of favour at Inter

Rajevac revealed he planned to meet Ghana captain Stephen Appiah at Bologna before travelling to Milan to meet Balotelli and his Inter team-mate, the former Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari.

"After the World Cup draw I'll go to Europe. I have a series of meetings planned with my players in the European (domestic) championship and my intention is to speak with Balotelli," Rajevac told Gazzetta dello Sport "I'm happy with the strikers I have but Balotelli has exceptional qualities. Who wouldn't want someone like that? He's young, he plays in a big team and he's very, very good."

Balotelli received his first senior call-up to the Ghana side in August 2007, aged 16, but he turned down the offer, stating his desire to play for the Italian side. He made his Italy Under-21 debut against Greece in September 2008 and has scored six goals in 15 appearances for the Azzurrini.