Hello Chris Hughton, first of all, congratulations on your appointment as the new Black Stars head coach, the most difficult job you probably have had to do in your sixty-four years of existence.
Imagine over 30 million people on your case, with some on radio stations ripping you apart, others on TV tearing into you for not winning a trophy (Africa Cup of Nations).
So let me ask you this one question Chris (permit me to call you by your first name – Chris), are you ready for this job?
I repeat myself for free, ARE YOU READY TO LEAD THE BLACK STARS OF GHANA AS HEAD COACH?
The task is to win the AFCON
I need not remind you, but we are hungry for a trophy and the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted in 2024 in Ivory Coast is a good chance to break the jinx for the Black Stars of Ghana.
You probably know this, but I need to remind you that your only task is not to qualify for the tournament as I expect that a coach of your experience in the Premier League with Newcastle, Norwich, Brighton and Hove Albion can navigate the terrain of qualification with the likes of Central African Republic, Angola and Madagascar as your opponents.
You have to break the jinx, you have to break the curse and lift Ghana’s fifth Africa Cup of Nations, no pressure, but you have to do it.
Create A Culture Of Winning
With the task set, it is important to note that you can only accomplish this herculean task by winning.
The only way to stay relevant and reach long-term goals quicker is by accomplishing short-term goals. In our case, we win against Angola over the two legs, beat Madagascar, Central African Republic, win games during the tournament from the group stage right to the finals.
Yes, easy-peasy right? Of course, I know it is not as easy as I may have put it, but on a more serious note, just win charley!
The reason I say just win is that, it gives the nation a sense of joy, the players, confidence and you, a step closer to achieving something 25 coaches have failed to do after C.K Gyamfi last did in 1982.
With a win percentage of 33.33, Otto Addo quit his job right after our abysmal display in Qatar at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Before Otto was Milovan Rajevac who could also manage 35% in twenty games in charge of the Black Stars.
There is C.K Akonnor who has 40%, 6.7% better than that of Otto Addo who played 12 games from February 2022 to December 2022 and there is about 50% of James Kwesi Appiah and 44.44% for Avram Grant.
These are the last five head coaches we have had as a country and the culture of winning they were able to cultivate.
With this in mind, the bar has to be taken higher than what Avram Grant did with the men’s senior football team and that will be done by winning.
It may sound like a cliché, but you can start by not losing to Angola and then make it extremely difficult for any country when they land in Ghana to play against the Black Stars.
The Ayew Brothers
It did not get easy for Otto Addo in his decision-making, as it is difficult to drop the Ayew brothers – Andre and Jordan from his team during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
I must say, it will not be easy for you too. You may probably receive a lot of backlash if you keep on picking the Ayew brothers, especially in your starting eleven for games.
I am of the opinion and strongly as such that these two have some more to give the national team, but the onus rests on you to find a suitable system to play them.
It is apparent that age has caught up with the Black Stars skipper, Andre Ayew and as such, you can utilize him as a winger or midfielder so if you are insistent on starting him, play him as centre forward with a lot of runners behind and around the 33-year-old Nottingham Forest man.
The next question is, where do you play Jordan Ayew? Take a cue from the play book of Patrick Vieira, his manager at Crystal Palace and use him the same way, but please never start the two brothers, it is a likely recipe for disaster.
A bad starting XI will be the death of you in your new role as Black Stars head coach, and I am tempted to believe you know this as you served as our Technical Advisor prior to the World Cup to the point of your appointment as gaffer to be assisted by Mas-Ud Didi Dramani and George Boateng.
Be a Man; Pick Your Best Team ALWAYS
In the early stages of the Kurt Okraku administration, he made an emphatic statement that player selection by any Black Stars head coach will be subjected to scrutiny by himself or anyone who delegates together with a panel of people.
These remarks have been heavily criticized and so even have raised questions about the authenticity of the inclusion of some players into the Black Stars.
Even to the point where former Black Stars head coach, Charles Akonnor accused the GFA boss of interference in his selection of players.
With your vast experience and depth of the game plus cultural upbringing, I am of the opinion that administrative interference in squad selection for the Black Stars will be a thing of the past.
There are signs that you have the balls to make some big calls and you did so by bringing back Joseph Paintsil and Majeed Ashimeru and I say, long may it continue.
In conclusion, it is important that you either continue from where Otto Addo left off or rebuild an identity for yourself.
I must say, I am intrigued to see what the Black Stars of Ghana will look like, play like and feel like under your leadership and I believe that though questions will be raised, they will not be for dire reasons or things you could have avoided.
Long may your reign last, bring back the glory days of Ghana football, win us the FIFTH AFCON and write your name in the stars.