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AFCON23: Black Stars Coach laments team’s inability to finish chances after Namibia draw

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The head coach of the Black Stars of Ghana, Chris Hughton, shared his thoughts on the team’s goal-scoring issues after the pre-2023 Africa Cup of Nations friendly game with Namibia on Monday night at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

The senior men’s soccer team failed to secure victory on home ground against Namibia despite creating numerous chances. However, the head coach remains optimistic about his team’s performance.

The Black Stars’ inability to clinch a win has left many Ghanaian fans disappointed and raised concerns about the team’s performance heading towards the continental showpiece in Ivory Coast this month.

The AFCON 23 tournament, postponed from 2023 to 2024 due to unfavorable weather conditions, will kick off on January 14, with Ivory Coast facing Guinea-Bissau at Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan in the opening game.

In a post-match interview after the friendly game with Namibia, Hughton expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, especially in the second half. He also highlighted the Black Stars’ ability to find the right spaces and create goal-scoring opportunities.

The Black Stars have scored just one goal in their last four games under the Irish gaffer, leading to concerns among Ghanaians.

“I didn’t think we were good enough on the ball in the first half. In the second half, of course, it was better, and the game opened up. I think we were able to capitalize on the spaces, and then it became the job to score goals,” Hughton described the positive aspects of the team’s play. “We entered the final third a lot more in the second half than we did in the first half. But perhaps a lack of quality at times saw us miss opportunities. I think you have to credit them. They defended very well in their moments. But we had to make more of the possession, especially in the final third,” he added.

Amidst criticisms from disappointed Ghanaians, the former English Premier League coach drew positives from the game and is now focusing on the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast.

“How far we can go depends on the performances that we can put in. One thing I know is that this is a group of players that want to do well. If you have a group of players that desperately want to do well, you never know what can happen. I certainly don’t want to be the head coach of a team that doesn’t think we have a chance of winning it,” he said after the game against Namibia. “That has to be the mentality going into the tournament, but we know we have to play well. Things have to go our way, we have to be fortunate with injuries, and we have to be very optimistic that we can do very well,” he expressed.

Ghana is in Group B alongside Egypt, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, and the Black Stars will commence their campaign on Sunday, January 14, against Cape Verde.

The Black Stars of Ghana will be chasing a 40 percent increase in the prize money, provided they are able to clinch the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations trophy. The eventual winner of the latest edition in Ivory Coast will receive £5.5 million ($7 million). This significant increase will elevate the prestige of the tournament and further incentivize top-tier performances on the African football stage. The runner-up of the TotalEnergies AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023 will not be left empty-handed, as their prize money sees an impressive rise to USD 4,000,000. This move by CAF demonstrates a commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence throughout the competition, as promised by the CAF president, Dr. Patrice Motsepe.

Source: A1Radioonline.Com|101.1MHZ|Pius Asack|Ghana|

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