Hughton's new role with Ghana
Having served as a technical advisor to the Ghanaian FA during the World Cup, Chris Hughton replaced Otto Ado as Head Coach of the senior men's side in February 2023. To begin the interview, he outlines how his relationship with the Ghanaian FA developed and how he came to take charge of the country of his father's birth.
Ghana at the 2022 World Cup
Hughton then casts his mind back to the events of last December and reflects on his side's performance. Playing at a World Cup was a new experience for virtually the entire squad, and there was a great deal of excitement in the camp. Although the young Black Stars ultimately fell just short of qualifying from their group, they put in some strong performances and there is plenty for them to build on for future tournaments.
The impact of FIFA's data
Ghana is an African regional heavyweight, but its FA still lacks the resources of some of the bigger European and South American powerhouses. This meant that the data provided by FIFA to the 32 competing teams during the competition was especially important, allowing Ghana's analysts to prepare properly for each match. The speed with which the data was delivered made it particularly useful, but Hughton is at pains to stress that knowledge of the opposition has to be balanced against the need to play your own game.
The importance of experience
By the time he retired from playing, Hughton was a seasoned international; he won 51 caps for the Republic of Ireland and was part of the Irish squad at EURO 1988 and the 1990 World Cup. This experience stood him in good stead in Qatar, as did his 25 years as a coach. Nevertheless, even the most experienced coaches have to keep developing, and one of the biggest lessons Hughton has learnt over the years is about how to make use of the specialist expertise that is now available to coaches at the top level.
The future of African football
Finally, Hughton turns his attention to the future of Ghanian and African football. As the son of a Ghanaian father, he always followed the Black Stars closely, but in recent years he has seen other African nations come to the fore. Morocco's impressive run to the semi-finals of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ marked real progress for African football, and this positive development is also reflected in the number of Africans playing in top European leagues. The Africa Cup of Nations in 2024 is shaping up to provide an exciting spectacle.