The Black Stars of Ghana become a major topic once again and it’s all because of Friday’s fixture against Madagascar at the Baba Yara Stadium.
Ghana face Madagascar on matchday one of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers hoping to enjoy a winning start to the qualifying series and in front of their home fans.
On the African continent, the qualifiers started on Wednesday with some games already grabbing the headlines including Nigeria’s 1-1 stalemate against Lesotho at home.
Only five countries competed in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where Morocco became the first African team to reach the semi-finals.
However, nine African teams are guaranteed a place in the next edition in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, which will feature 48 teams instead of the usual 32.
The Black Stars have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks following their poor performances in October friendlies against Mexico and the United States of America.
The team is currently in Kumasi, preparing for their first group game against Madagascar on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
Ghana and Madagascar have met three times across all competitions in recent times.
The most recent meeting between the two teams was the second leg of the 2023 AFCON qualifier, which took place at Antananarivo’s Mahamasina Municipal Stadium.
Hughton’s third game in charge of the national team ended in a goalless draw.
In Cape Coast, the first leg ended 3-0 in favour of the Black Stars.
However, Ghana lost to the Barrea back in 2015 in an international friendly.
Hughton has been under some pressure but says he knows the importance of the qualifiers and what it means for Ghana Football.
“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.”
While he is hoping to start right, Madagascar also continues to threaten with their head coach leading the talk from Thursday’s presser.
“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,” Romuald Rakotondrabe told the press.
“We didn’t come to Ghana for holidays. We came here to win the game.”
Friday’s fixture is scheduled for a 16:00 GMT kickoff.