Ghana coach Chris Hughton insisted Wednesday his focus was entirely on the Black Stars’ crucial Africa Cup of Nations clash with record seven-time champions Egypt following a confrontation with an angry supporter at the team’s hotel in Abidjan.
The incident happened following Ghana’s shock 2-1 loss to Cape Verde in their opening match in Ivory Coast, a result which already leaves them facing an uphill struggle just to reach the last 16.
A Ghana team official said to AFP that Hughton was not attacked, but confirmed that an “aggrieved and disappointed” fan had approached the coach and “told him to either improve or leave the job”.
“I very much appreciate the levels of support that I have had but in the press conference here we are looking forward to the next game, so that is something that is very much in the past,” Hughton told reporters.
“It has had a lot of media coverage and I am thankful for the messages of support, but today is a day to look forward to a very competitive game we have tomorrow.”
A second straight defeat in Group B would leave Ghana staring at the prospect of being eliminated in the first round, just as they were at the last AFCON in Cameroon in 2022.
The Black Stars have been African champions four times, but the last of those titles came in 1982.
Hughton’s team came to Ivory Coast off the back of a 1-0 defeat to minnows the Comoros in a World Cup qualifier in November.
They looked set to take a point against Cape Verde thanks to Alexander Djiku’s second-half header, but an injury-time Garry Rodrigues goal condemned them to defeat.
Former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Hughton is hoping attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus — enjoying a fine season with West Ham United in the English Premier League — will be able to feature against Egypt after missing the opening game.
“Mohammed Kudus joined the camp later than anybody else because of an injury sustained in his last game for West Ham,” Hughton said.
“We will continue to assess him. He has trained the last few days but we will make a decision tomorrow.”
Hughton, who is 65, took over last year, soon after the Qatar World Cup from which Ghana went out in the group stage.
He said questions about whether he might remain in the job in the event the team were knocked out early in Ivory Coast were “immaterial”.
“I am here as Black Stars coach, leading the team into what is a very important game and this is the only focus that I have.”
Egypt needed an injury-time Mohamed Salah penalty to draw 2-2 with Mozambique in their first outing.
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –