Black Stars coach Chris Hughton lived up to expectation at the press conference in Kumasi, which officially unveiled him to the Ghanaian. Some have argued that for a coach of his make, he wouldn’t underperform at a press event. I agree with that.
For any candid review, too, Chris Hughton’s responses to questions, his depth of knowledge and composure wouldn’t also escape attention. I believe he’s the coach Ghana should’ve had a year back but there’s no need elaborating on that point.
I take a leaf from a decent answer Hughton gave on the issue of interference in selection to say, we must leave the past behind and focus on the future. "All I can say is, I am the new head coach. Anything you speak of before my time here is very much something you’re bringing up. It’s in the past," said Chris Hughton.
An AFCON qualifier awaits us on Thursday against Angola. Hughton has already named his squad. What lies ahead is what presently matters. Thus, in our forward march, Hughton made modest promises.
"I will be spending more time in Ghana. I will be watching more games. I am constantly being made aware of players who are doing well. I'll be paying more attention to [GPL] games because it is important that we have a strong national league" he said.
"No coach can sit here and guarantee a trophy buy what I can guarantee is a strong team. We want to see a winning team". In all, relevant questions were asked, and Hughton answered them well like the one concerning his contract. It’s been argued that discussions on his contract are needless, but that position is flawed.
When we’ve not kept a coach for long in recent years, there’s every need to ask what Hughton makes of his 21-month contract. "I have to get the right balance of what’s short-term, what’s medium term, and what’s long term. At this moment, always the most important is short-term. Winning football matches that’ll get you into a better position to when the other games come around.
"The medium term of course is making sure that you all qualify and do well in the competition itself. The longer term, of course, is about developing players and bringing players through the system and that takes time. There’s no doubt, as a team that played in the World Cup with the youngest team, we’ve to have an eye on development.
"And development can take time and sometimes this is where you need that little bit of patience from the likes of yourself, the journalists, the supporters" said Hughton. "So, the length of my contact is probably the correct length".
That enlightened answer on his contract is why Hughton impressed me. We’ve been on this short-term Black Stars coaching business. The responses you get from people you expect to know better, is as if you're an enemy of state who hates progress. Hughton, by that informed response and the others he gave showed why we must support him.