I don’t think Ghana coach follow the English Premier League – Brighton Boss De Zerbi on the inclusion of Tariq Lamptey

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I don't think Ghana coach follow the English Premier League - Brighton Boss De Zerbi on the inclusion of Tariq Lamptey

The inclusion of injured Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey in Ghana’s provisional squad for the 2024 African Cup of Nations has sparked a verbal spat between the player’s club manager, Roberto De Zerbi, and Ghana’s coach, Chris Hughton.

Lamptey’s Injury Raises Concerns

Lamptey, a highly-rated right-back, has been sidelined since November with a hamstring injury. The severity of the injury and his estimated recovery timeline remain unclear, casting doubt on his availability for the AFCON tournament, which kicks off in January.

De Zerbi’s Veiled Dig

De Zerbi, known for his outspoken nature, expressed his surprise at Lamptey’s inclusion in the provisional squad. In a thinly veiled dig at Hughton, he quipped at a press conference:

“Maybe the coach of Ghana doesn’t watch the Premier League, because I don’t know how much time we’re playing without Tariq Lamptey.”

His comment, while seemingly lighthearted, hinted at frustration with Hughton’s decision. De Zerbi’s concern is understandable, as losing Lamptey for a potentially lengthy period to AFCON duties would be a significant blow to Brighton’s Premier League campaign.

Hughton Defends his Selection

Hughton, however, remained unfazed by De Zerbi’s barb. He defended his decision to include Lamptey in the provisional squad, emphasizing the importance of giving the player every opportunity to recover and rejoin the team:

“We’ve named a provisional squad, and Tariq is a part of that squad. We’re hopeful that he’ll be fit enough to join up with us, but ultimately, that’s a decision that will be made by the medical staff.”

He further clarified that the provisional squad announcement was primarily to allow players to acclimatize to the national team setup and integrate into the team’s tactical plans. Final decisions on player availability would be made closer to the tournament based on fitness assessments.

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Beyond the Barbs: Underlying Tensions

While the spat between De Zerbi and Hughton appears to be centered on Lamptey’s specific situation, it also highlights the broader tensions that can arise between club and international managers.

Club managers naturally prioritize the well-being of their players and the success of their teams within the context of their domestic leagues. International managers, on the other hand, have the responsibility of building a competitive national team for continental or global tournaments.

Finding a balance between these competing interests can be challenging, and disagreements over player call-ups and release dates are not uncommon.

Looking Ahead: A Delicate Dance

In the case of Lamptey, De Zerbi and Hughton will need to find a way to work together for the benefit of both Brighton and Ghana. Open communication and a willingness to compromise will be crucial in ensuring that Lamptey receives the best possible care and that Ghana’s AFCON preparations are not disrupted.

Ultimately, the decision of whether Lamptey participates in the tournament will lie with the player himself and the medical teams involved. It is a delicate dance, with the hopes of both club and country resting on the outcome.

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