Ghana will start the qualifying series for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Friday, November 17, against Madagascar at the Baba Yara Stadium at 4pm.
This game is crucial for coach Chris Hughton to overcome a challenging month that has raised questions about his future.
This comes a month after disappointing performances against Mexico and the United States, but the Black Stars now have an opportunity to regain the support of Ghanaians.
This match marks the third meeting in the past year between Ghana and Madagascar, following their encounters in the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ghana won the first game 3-0, with goals from Mohammed Kudus, Felix Afena-Gyan, and Osman Bukari. However, the return fixture in Madagascar ended in a goalless draw, and Ghana later secured qualification to the AFCON in Ivory Coast by topping the group.
Given the surprises in the second day of the African qualifiers for the World Cup, Hughton is aiming for a positive outcome against Madagascar to avoid a situation similar to Nigeria, who failed to win their first game against Lesotho at home.
Hughton emphasized the importance of the match in a press conference.
“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.”
“I know what they really mean to the members of the squad and for those that we work for,” he told the media.
Andre Ayew is set to make a return to Ghana’s squad after missing last month’s international break, although it remains uncertain whether the captain will secure a place in the starting lineup. The team faces a significant setback with the absence of Thomas Partey.
Coach Chris Hughton has the challenge of selecting players for the starting lineup, with Abdul Mumin and Kamaldeen Sulemana in excellent form. The addition of Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, performing well at Leicester City, provides additional options for the team.
Madagascar’s Tsiry Tokinantenaina and Jean Yves Razafindrakoto, both scorers in the previous match against Benin, are likely to retain their positions in the starting lineup for this fixture.