Fred Pappoe: ‘Chris Hughton ought to invite quality players for 2026 World Cup qualifiers’

'Chris Hughton ought to invite quality players for 2026 World Cup qualifiers'

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Considering the circumstances of Ghana Football in recent times, there is huge pressure on Ghana’s Black Stars head coach Chris Hughton as they hope to book qualification to next FIFA World Cup. Ghana in their last two tournaments, thus Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup showed abysmal performance after failing to progress from the Group phase.

At the 2021 AFCON tournament in Cameroon, Ghana finished bottom of the group which had Gabon, Algeria and Comoros Island. Shocking enough, last 3-2 to Comoros Island in their last fixture.

At the Mundial, Qatar Ghana again failed to shine in Group H having South Korea, Portugal and Uruguay. Placed bottom of the group with three points, virtue of beating South Korea.

Having been drawn in Group I of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Africa, the only team that could take pressure off their shoulders will be to book qualification. The Black Stars will face Madagascar, Mali, Comoros Island, Central African Republic and Chad at the qualifying stage.

Currently, Ghana is on the verge of losing a ticket to Ivory Coast for next African Cup of Nations tournament, after failing to beat Madagascar away last month. They will have to beat Central African Republic at home to qualify, a draw will deny them a slot.

With all these, former Ghana Football Association Executive Council Member, Fred Pappoe wants head coach Chris Hughton to extend invitation to players playing at the top level and players with quality to deliver at the national team.

According to him, it will be difficult to get the best out of players who are not playing actively at the club level which is why the top performers must be considered to get smoothly the ideas of the coach.

“I think we can qualify. It doesn’t matter the opponent we are facing because the game in Africa has now risen.

“Sometimes we Ghanaians don’t like to accept that the game has been more competitive compared to the past.

“I think the best way we can increase our qualification chances is to make use of the FIFA calendar to prepare adequately because you won’t get time to camp for three or four weeks. You don’t have that chance that thing is no more,” he told Peace FM.

“A match is likely to coincide with the international break or when various leagues have ended just as it is now.

“The only time players can be available for an international assignment is within those times. Even with that, it is for a short stint because they would be released by their clubs for a short time so the coach doesn’t get enough time with them.

“So what we need to do is make sure that if we are calling the 25 or 26 they would be our best at a time they are playing actively in their various teams.

“We won’t have time for the coach to teach them for a set amount of time in order for them to gel effectively. We only need to call our best and approach [the games] with our best,” he added.

Story Kolog Bonaventure

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