MOGWASE - Ghana midfielder
Sulley Muntari is hoping for his first start at the World Cup in
the quarter-final against Uruguay after playing only a cameo
role so far after a bust up with the team's Serbian coach.
A Champions League winner last month with Inter Milan, the
25-year-old would ordinarily form an integral part of Ghana's
midfield but fell foul of coach Milovan Rajevac before the
tournament and had another row after team drew with Australia.
Friday's quarter-final at the Soccer City Stadium in
Johannesburg offers him a chance at restoring his role in the
side, particularly given that right sided midfielder Dede Ayew
will miss the match because of suspension.
It puts Muntari in a stark spotlight and, at the start of
the week, he is swarmed by reporters and television crews as
Ghana finished training at their tiny stadium the rural
splendour of South Africa's north-west province.
"I don't know, it depends on the coach, let's see," he tells
several interviewers when questioned about possibility of
finally playing from the start, as he did in Germany four years
"The coach has to choose who has to play. The most important
thing is that I'm with the group, I'm giving all my best."
There is exasperation, but also a calm patience, as he
deflects questions about his bust ups with Rajevac.
"The important thing is that we are playing well, doing well
and the negative stuff is all behind us. The most important
thing we have in mind is to do well for our country," he says,
shuffling from one foot to the other.
"I'm OK, I've been training since we came here. We are on
our way, we want to do well," he adds, his answers clipped and
delivered with a sigh.
Muntari was officially reprimanded following an outburst
after the game against Australia in Rustenburg on June 19 where
he was only used as a substitute.
Rajevac sought to have him expelled from the squad but
relented after an apology and pleas from other players, team
officials told Reuters.
Before the tournament Muntari also got on the wrong side of
the Serbian coach by leaving the pre-World Cup training squad in
London and going off for private medical treatment.
But Muntari tells a different story: "I never got upset. I
got injured so I was treating myself. He spoke to me about it.
He was concerned. He wanted me to heal well. He decides
everything," he said.
It was not the first bust-up between Muntari and Rajevac.
The talented midfielder, who now has 55 caps for his country,
was left out of the African Nations Cup squad earlier this year
after refusing to play in a warm-up friendly last November.
But it is a subject that the player obviously wants to put
to bed. "I'm very happy, that's the most important thing," he
adds, seeking to shift the tone of the questions before darting
away and into the safety of the team bus.
Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook
Bayern overcome heartbreak of losing two finals in three seasons by beating Dortmund 2-1
Decision not to send off Bayern Munich defender Dante rankles with upbeat Dortmund boss
Heynckes becomes only the fourth manager to win the European Cup with two different teams
Dortmund striker could soon join German rivals and newly-crowned Champions League winners
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010