The Black Stars will be looking to qualify for Africa’s biggest footballing showpiece for the 24th time as they face the Barea of Madagascar in the penultimate 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers on Sunday.
The match to be played at the Kianja Barea Mahamasina Stadium would witness both sides battle for the points that could prove crucial to qualification for next year’s AFCON, to be held in Cote D; Ivoire.
Madagascar, who are rock bottom of Group E with just a point, have a slim chance of qualifying for next year’s competition, while the Black Stars, who are top of the group with eight points, would need a win to book a spot.
The Black Stars of Ghana would be looking to do the double over Madagascar after beating them 3-0 in Cape Coast in June last year with goals from Kudus Mohammed, Felix Afena-Gyan, and Osman Bukari.
The Black Stars look firm favourites in Sunday’s match as they are yet to lose in the qualifiers, having won two and drawn two of the four matches played.
If the Black Stars pull off the win against Madagascar, the last group match against the Central African Republic in September would become a mere formality.
Ghana coach Chris Hughton would be without his first choice left back, Gideon Mensah, who pulled out of the squad due to injury, as well as Inaki Williams and Alexander Djiku.
Lawrence Ati-Zigi is expected to make the starting lineup despite the return to full fitness of Jojo Wallocot, who missed out on the number one spot a few months ago.
Per GNA Sports monitoring of this week’s training sessions at the Accra Sports Stadium, Andre Ayew is unlikely to make the starting line-up for the second game after he was benched during Ghana’s encounter with Angola in Kumasi.
Referees: Patrice Milazar (Mauritius), Ram Babajee (Mauritius, Asst 1), Jean Marc Jeff Pithia (Asst. 2) with the fourth official being Ahmad Imtehaz Heeralall from Mauritius.
Black Stars Possible starting XI: Lawrence Ati-Zigi (GK), Alidu Seidu, Patrick Kpozo, Daniel Amartey, Joseph Aidoo, Thomas Partey, Mohammed Kudus, Salis Abdul Samed, Joseph Painstil, KamalDeen Sulemana, Jordan Ayew.
Kick Off Time: 4pm (Sunday)