Rajevac ready to reward Ghana youngsters

JOHANNESBURG - Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac is set to give his band of youthful World Cup debutants a more prominent role in the team after a convincing performance in the 1-0 win over Serbia.

Rajevac entrusted newcomer Kevin-Prince Boateng, in only his second start for Ghana, and Anthony Annan, with the holding role in the midfield while Prince Tagoe and Dede Ayew roamed the flanks on Sunday.

The Serbian-born coach said 23-year-old Portsmouth attacking midfielder Boateng, could prove to be a good option for Ghana in the absence of injured Michael Essien.

"He (Boateng) has adjusted well and he might be one of the most intriguing players at the World Cup," Rajevac told Ghana FA website.

German-born Boateng, swapped allegiances to earn a spot in the Ghanaian World Cup squad after playing 41 times for various German youth teams.

Working tirelessly in setting up attacks, while playing a critical role as the first line of defence with some energetic tackles, Boateng managed to cover the void left by Essien.

Boateng, whose brother Jerome is in the Germany squad, received criticism in the German media for a tackle on Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final which ruled the German skipper out of the World Cup.

Criticised for choosing an overly defensive tactic during the African Cup of Nations in January, Rajevac opted for an attacking 4-4-2 formation for the game in which Ghana saw off Serbia with a spot kick from striker Asamoah Gyan.

THIGH INJURY

In the absence of veterans Stephan Appiah and Sulley Muntari, who is struggling with a thigh injury, Ghana were marshalled from the midfield by Dede Ayew, son of Ghana's great Abedi Pele.

Ayew, 20, captained Ghana's under-20 side to victory at the 2009 World Youth Championships in Egypt, beating Brazil in the final 4-3 on penalties. His brother Ibrahim is also in the squad.

Five members of that youth team, including Jonathan Mensah, 19, Samuel Inkoom, 21, Daniel Agyei 20 and Dominic Adiyah 20, earned a place in Ghana's World Cup squad, making the squad the youngest in the World Cup with an average age of 24.

"Though the two tournaments are different, that experience helped," Ayew said.

Ghana face Australia in their next Group D game on Saturday before taking on Germany in the final group game.

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