Ghana aim for a good start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Madagascar on Friday.
The Black Stars go into the game on the back of recent defeats to Mexico (2-0) and the United States (4-0) in the month of October.
With Deputy Captain Thomas Partey ruled out due to injury, Richard Ofori, Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey and captain Andre Ayew have a simple mission to lead the young guns to fight for a win against one of the fastest growing teams on the continent.
Madagascar’s last visit to Ghana was an absolute debacle following a 3-0 loss to the Black Stars at the Cape Coast stadium in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Felix Afena Gyan, Mohammed Kudus and Osman Bukari scored to ensure Ghana finished the game in a more comfortable manner. Two of the players who scored on the day are still present in the squad pushing for a starting berth on Friday.
Ghana are unbeaten in their last two games at the Baba Yara stadium after securing hard fought wins against Angola and Central African Republic in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Ghana coach Chris Hughton goes into his first World Cup qualifier after masterminding our victories over the two countries to secure a place at next year’s Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire. The former Newcastle United manager who has been working in Africa for the past 20 months has been speaking highly about the growth of African football.
”There is no easy game in Africa, especially in these qualifiers” he told the press.
“What I have learnt over the period is that the game has developed very well in Africa with players scattered throughout the world so a lot of these African teams play good football and cannot be taken for granted”
“As a Coach, my mission is to play well and win games. Even though results are not guaranteed, our ultimate goal is to start on a good note and fight for a ticket to the next World Cup” he added.
Madagascar, noted for compact and speed game have been very dominant in recent competitions at the senior level. Their performance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and 2021 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) is still fresh in our minds.
They like to play expansive football from the back and attack through the wings to split defence open. But these attributes are very much known to the Black Stars Technical team following our recent battle in Antananarivo.
The Black Stars have a fully fit squad that consist of young dynamic talents who are doing extremely well with their clubs in Europe and experience players who have played in tough competitions across board.
Even though certain key players who featured at the World Cup are missing, the current crop of players are competent enough to win games.
The team is blessed with three top goalkeepers, Lawrence Ati-Zigi who has kept the post regularly in recent times as well as Joseph Wollacott and Richard Ofori who have been in and out of the squad due to injuries.
The defensive set up has seen a number of changes since our return from the World Cup. Mohammed Salisu, Tariq Lamptey have yet to play a single minute for Ghana since the World Cup, while Alexander Djiku has also been inconsistent for the same reason - But clearly, Nicholas Opoku, Kasim Nuhu, Joseph Aidoo, Stephan Ambrosius and Kingsley Schindler have stepped in quite well.
The responsibility lie on Mohammed Kudus, Jordan Ayew, Inaki Williams, Abdul Salis Samed and captain Andre Ayew to ensure Ghana’s victory.
With a trip to Comoros due in four days time, the Black Stars need nothing but victory against Madagascar to announce their intent in a group that comprise of Mali, Chad and Central African Republic.
”The team is focused, the players know what is at stake and with the crowd behind us, I am certain about the three points” Chris Hughton remarked.
The game is scheduled for 4pm kick off at the Baba Yara Sports stadium in Kumasi on Friday, November 17,2023.