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Former English Premier League coaches prepare for African debuts

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Chris Hughton. PHOTO/Ghana FA
  • Ex Chelsea coach Avram Grant is coaching Zambia
  • Former Brighton boss Chris Hughton is coaching Zambia
  • Both play their first matches on Thursday

Former English Premier League coaches Avram Grant and Chris Hughton will make their debut coaching stints with their respective African national teams when the qualifiers of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations continue this week.

Hughton has been unveiled as the new Ghana head coach this week while Grant was named Zambia’s new head coach in December.

Hughton will officially start his tenure as the Ghana national team head coach as the Black Stars face Angola in their third Group E match of the qualifiers.

Hughton was officially unveiled this week, having taken over the reigns from Otto Addo, who left his role shortly after the World Cup.

The former Brighton & Hove Albion coach is not new to the national team as he worked as the Technical Advisor to Addo during the last phase of the World Cup qualifiers and into the tournament in Qatar.

Hopeful for a positive start 

The tactician is hopeful of a positive start to his tenure, with Ghana sitting on top of the group with four points off a win and a draw and victory against Angola would put them clear on top.

He is looking forward to a positive start in Kumasi, against what is expected to be a tough Angolan side.

“I have studied them in their last five, six, seven games. They are technically a very good team and obviously with Portuguese influence and a lot of good technical players so I am in no doubt that they are strong and tough opposition so we have to plan for that as we will do for any opposition,” the tactician said.

He adds; “They have the capabilities and very much aware that they can cause us a lot of problem and we have to be prepared for that.”

Ghana sit top of Group E with four points from a win against Madagascar and a draw away to the Central Africa Republic. A win will see them float well into the lead in the group.

Meanwhile, Grant, who took Chelsea to the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2008 will be preparing for his first official match with Zambia when they play Lesotho at home in Ndola.

Avram Grant

Avram Grant. PHOTO/Football Association of Zambia

Grant, also formerly coach of Ghana was appointed to the helm of the Chipolopolo last December and has had more than two and a half months to prepare his side.

Zambia second in their group 

Zambia are second in Group H with three points from their last victory over third placed Comoros and they had started their campaign with defeat to Ivory Coast.

Grant is keen to guide his side to a win in his first official match in charge.

“I am excited ahead of the next two matches. These two games can give us a step forward to qualification. It will not be easy, I saw Lesotho in the last few games and they are a very good team but we are ready for the game and playing at home, we want to do well and win,” said the coach.

He adds; “I am happy that the players have been giving a lot of effort in training from the camp.”

Zambia will play in Ndola, for the first time in a long time and coach Grant expects the supporters to rally behind the team.

Lesotho are bottom of the group with one point from their last match, a memorable 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast.

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