Many are falling in love with new Black Stars coach Chris Hughton. I fell for him a year ago when I first heard him on our team. And my love for him has grown especially in the last week. Of course, it’s neither because he’s done anything extraordinary nor led us to an AFCON triumph after a 40-year long wait. None of the above.
It’s simply because Chris Hughton appears to be showing a kind of work ethics, some conviction and firmness plus confidence in his approach to coaching the Black Stars that I personally I’ve not seen in recent years. I’m his biggest fan.
I’ll however not get carried away, given the fact that, Hughton has got a long path to chart, in the next 21 months, to truly make the Black Stars an unbeatable team, talk less of winning an AFCON title. The nuance of his job is crazy. It’s early days yet, so early.
Yet in those early days, we’ve been witnesses to how he’s demonstrated that, our big name players, like captain Andre Ayew can be dropped without much fuss since the buck stops with him Hughton. While he wouldn’t underestimate the role of the diligent servant Andre, the decision as to who plays and who doesn’t play, firmly sits with him.
This is no complement but in two games, especially the Kumasi game against Angola, we saw how ugly our play can be yet with an ability to grind a win, not least, to appease the fans. We as well observed how we can organise immediately, even improvise in the face of adversity, in this case, injuries to some players, and still fight a favourable away draw.
Some colleague sports journalists have also had decent Hughton reviews. One that catches my attention is Victor Atsu Tamakloe’s point on how in the two games with Angola, Hughton made substitutions that quite impacted on the game’s outcomes.
“His substitutions delivered the points. In Luanda, all three of his substitutes combined to score the decisive goal. It may not be much, but in two games, we've seen Chris exhibit a mix of decisiveness, excellent game management and the humility to admit he's got quite a bit to do in arriving at a cohesive unit” says Atsu.
I’m in no haste to hail Hughton over small, negligible positives but I’ll also make known some of the little, beautiful moments he’s supervised hoping that, in months’ time, our player quality and performance would improve with his guidance, and the assistance of the GFA, the government and indeed, all who mean well for our Black Stars.