Black Stars begin 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Madagascar today in Kumasi

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A month after the disastrous performances against Mexico and the United States of America, the Black Stars have an opportunity to win the hearts of Ghanaians again.

Ghana commence the qualifying series for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Friday, November 17, against Madagascar. The game at the Baba Yara Stadium is also an opportunity for Chris Hughton to put behind him a dreadful month which has seen his future come into question.

It will be the third meeting in the last year between the two teams after they met during the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

In the first of the two games, Ghana sealed a 3-0 victory with Mohammed Kudus, Felix Afena-Gyan and Osman Bukari getting on the scoresheet.

However, the return fixture in Madagascar saw both teams draw blank with Ghana going on to seal qualification to the tournament to be staged in Ivory Coast after topping the group.

With surprises on the second day of the African qualifiers for the World Cup, Hughton will be hoping Ghana doesn’t do ‘a Nigeria’ against Madagascar. The Super Eagles failed to beat Lesotho at home in their first game.

What has been said?

Hughton at his presser highlighted the importance of the game against Madagascar.

“I am very aware of how important these two games are. I know we have the AFCON tournament in January but at this moment all our concentration is on these two very important fixtures,” he told the media.

“I know what they really mean to the members of the squad and for those that we work for.”

For the Barea, they chase a first win over the Black Stars since the 2015 friendly victory and head coach Romuald Rakotondrabe is confident about their chances.

“It’s very true that the last time we beat Ghana was in 2015 and that was a friendly. We are going to do everything possible to defeat Ghana on Friday,” he told the press.

“We didn’t come to Ghana for holidays. We came here to win the game.”

Team News

Andre Ayew returns to Ghana’s squad after missing last month’s international break but it is uncertain whether the captain will be handed a place in the starting lineup. The biggest blow obviously has to do with the absence of Thomas Partey.

Hughton was unlucky to have the duo of Abdul Mumin and Kamaldeen Sulemana who have been in great form lately but adding Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, who is also doing great at Leicester City, should be enough to give a similar direction.

Tsiry Tokinantenaina and Jean Yves Razafindrakoto both scored for Madagascar against Benin last month and ought to remain in the starting lineup for this match.

Where and when?

Venue: Baba Yara Stadium

Time: 16:00 GMT

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