Augustine Ahinful: Chris Hughton must rise to occasion
A former Ghana international, Augustine Ahinful has thrown down the gauntlet to Black Stars coach, Chris Hughton, emphasising the pressing need for the coach to elevate his performance and meet the lofty expectations of Ghanaians.
Since taking the reins of the national team in March, Chris Hughton's tenure has been under scrutiny, with concerns mounting that the coach had yet to reach the pinnacle of the expectations bestowed upon him. In a stirring call to action, Ahinful believes that now is the time for the coach to reassert himself, rejuvenate the team and restore confidence in the team.
While Ahinful stressed the importance of Ghanaians rallying behind their coach, he minced no words in his assessment of Hughton's performance, stating that the time had come for the coach to turn the tide and uphold the reputation of the national team, as the burden of revitalising the Black Stars rested squarely on Hughton's shoulders.
"There is always room for improvement. So far, it's not been encouraging," said the retired footballer, who made 20 senior appearances for Ghana between 1995 and 2000.
Ahinful acknowledged that Hughton had a wealth of experience and knowledge in football; with his extensive playing and coaching experience, he was more than capable of navigating the challenges facing the national team.
"He's played the game before, he has coached before and he knows what to do to remedy the situation. I think we need to back him up but he has to also back up."
Hughton's record since assuming the role of Black Stars head coach tells a story of inconsistency, with three wins, two draws, and two losses in seven matches.
Ahinful considered this record as falling short of the standards expected from a coach of Hughton's stature, and stressed the urgency to rectify the situation, especially with the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cote d'Ivoire just around the corner.
Coach Hughton previously served as the technical advisor to his predecessor Otto Addo and played a pivotal role in the national team's coaching staff during the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoffs and the subsequent World Cup in Qatar.
He possesses an impressive resume which showcases his potential to achieve great things for Ghana as the head coach, with a track record which includes managing English clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest, and securing Brighton and Hove Albion's promotion to the English Premier League.
However, Ahinful contends that these impressive achievements in top-level club football have not been fully realised with the Black Stars.
While advocating for unwavering support from Ghanaians, Ahinful passionately implored Coach Hughton to engineer a turnaround and propel the national team to their rightful place of prominence on the African continent.