BLACK Stars Technical Advisor, Chris Hughton, has said he will be more involved in decisions in the national team and provide technical assistance to the Head Coach, Otto Addo, as they rebuild the team for the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition and ultimately to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Last month, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) confirmed the appointment of Hughton alongside George Boateng and Mas-Ud Dramani to assist Addo until December.
The experienced tactician is not new to the team. He played a similar advisory role in the technical team which supervised Ghana's World Cup playoffs with Nigeria in March following which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo advised the GFA to consider maintaining the technical handlers for Ghana's World Cup campaign which starts in November.
Currently with the team in Angola en route to Japan for a four-nation tournament, 62-year-old Hughton told the UK's Daily Mail that he was excited at his new role and expected to support the head coach to deliver the nation's aspiration in Qatar.
“I was involved against Nigeria but only really watched training. I will be more on the grass this time.
"I can help to take some of the pressure off with those things. I will be involved with the coach [Otto Addo] on tactics and the team we pick but he [Addo] will have the final say.
“Tactics and selection are one part of the job but there are other issues such as media work," said Hughton.
The experience of working in Africa for the first time and to help Ghana at the World Cup is one the coach is looking forward to.
"This is exciting, what’s coming up. Hopefully I will emerge a better manager. The exciting part with Ghana is going into the unknown. They have trusted me to do the role how I see it. The question from them was simple: Can you help? The answer was very much yes," he said.
The Black Stars will make their fourth World Cup appearance in Qatar where they have been pooled alongside Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay. And Ghanaians are already relishing the prospects of meeting the South Americans again, 12 years after a Uruguay star Luis Suarez punched a goal-bound header off the line in the final minute of extra time, as Ghana lost a penalty shootout and a chance to make a historic semi-final berth at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
For Hughton, revenge may not be on the cards per se, but the December 2 clash with the two-time World Cup winners at the Al Wakrah Sports Complex looks exciting.
"I remember it [Suarez hand-ball incident]. It won’t get a mention within the camp but it has been spoken about in Ghana.
"We are fourth seed in the group but this will be a different World Cup. Players will all have been playing for their clubs.
"So it could be about form or players picking up injuries and things like that. That October period with no friendlies will be very difficult and a nervous time for countries as they hope their players are OK. So we will have to take advantage of anything like that when we can," he said.
Born to an Irish mother and a Ghanaian father in England, Hughton also spoke about how his family holiday in Accra eventually turned into a media frenzy when he was spotted in Accra, and how it turned into a temporary role in the national team, even though there was initial talk about the Irish-Ghanaian taking over from Milovan Rajevac after Ghana's abysmal AFCON campaign in Cameroun.
"Three days before I arrived, the Ghana coach lost his job. I was visiting family, just relaxing. But I must have been spotted and a lot of people, particularly in the local media, presumed I was there for the job. It kind of grew and grew.
"They were discussing it on the TV and next thing my grandchildren were sending me stuff they’d seen on social media and asking why I hadn’t told them. I was relaxed about it. I knew it wasn’t true. But then over a period of time that all changed,” explained the most successful Black coach in England, who previously handled clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Norwich and Brighton.