Why Chris Hughton, not part-time Otto Addo, should be Black Stars coach

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With just under a month to the 2022 World Cup, the Black Stars are still fazed with commitment issues, this time not from players but on the side of the man leading them from the dugout.

Otto Addo’s tenure as Ghana boss started quite well, having guided the Black Stars to best Nigeria and qualify for the World Cup on away goals. However, it’s been one underwhelming performance after another ever since.

In the eight matches that he has taken charge of, Ghana have only won twice – against lowly-rated Madagascar and Nicaragua – while they’ve been battered by Japan (4-1) and Brazil (3-0).

But that is not even the point. Of the four-man technical team put together by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to manage the national team, Addo is the least qualified.

He may be attached to Dortmund, but he hasn’t had any form of managerial experience as a head coach, with the Ghana job being his very first. Ordinarily, that shouldn’t also be a problem since managers all across the world start from somewhere.

The problem, though, is that Addo’s commitment is questionable. Usually, it is the commitment of the players that comes into question, but this time it is the manager’s that is suspect.

Every manager going into the World Cup has been given targets; targets that if they fail to meet, they’re likely to be fired. In Addo’s case, however, there are no consequences for failure, since he has made it clear he’ll be leaving after the tournament.

On this premise, what is then the need to give his all? After all, he is still guaranteed job security at Dortmund, where he serves as a scout and assistant trainer. So what does he have to lose? If things don’t go well with Ghana in Qatar, he has a fallback plan in Germany.

That the GFA has allowed such an arrangement – one that holds the Black Stars coach to no KPIs and account – is baffling.

“The association had already asked me to coach in February, but at that time their priority was on someone who could work permanently for Ghana,” Addo told the World Soccer Magazine.

“The offer was a great honour for me. In the talks, I made it clear that I could do the national team job on an interim basis and as a dual function with my Dortmund work. I think as a national coach you should also live in the country you work for in the long term.

“Of course, many things can also be organised and delegated remotely in the short term. But I see myself staying in Germany, at least for the next few years.”

Clearly, this is a man who doesn’t see a future with the Black Stars and is only happy to manage the team at the World Cup to enhance his own reputation. At this level, you’re either all in or all out and Addo seems to be holding his cards to his chest.

Here’s where Chris Hughton comes in.

Hughton has been with the Black Stars for as long as Addo, but he’s more experienced, more tactically astute and more proven, given his stint with topflight sides in the UK.

For a man who has managed in the Premier League and handled several English sides, it feels like he’s just wasting away as the technical advisor of Ghana. Hughton has not explicitly stated his interest in the Black Stars job, but sources suggest he’s primed to replace Addo after the World Cup.

If that is actually the case, it makes no sense to wait when it’s only a matter of time before we end up with him. Hughton is currently unattached and has indicated his readiness to return to coaching, and he’s more qualified and deserving of being Ghana’s coach than the part-time Addo, who clearly sees the job as a second choice.

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