On Friday November 18, the Black Stars of Ghana defeated Madagascar in their opening group game of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
On paper, the Black Stars stood as favourites to defeat Madagascar considering the quality both sides paraded for the game.However the Madagascans gave a very good account of themselves making the match a difficult one for the Black Stars. It was not surprising that it had to take a last minute header by Inaki Williams to grab all three points for Ghana.
The outcome of the game points to the fact that Chris Hughton’s side will have to improve despite the winning start to the qualifiers.Obviously, there is so much work to be done as the team is fraught with so many problems.Chris Hughton’s mistakes and the lessons to be picked from the game are as follows;
1) The first mistakes Chris Hughton made are player selections.
Chris Hughton came under fire for his first starting eleven, especially in the midfield, where the team’s offensive potential was hampered in the first half by defensive standouts Baba Iddrisu and Abdul Samed Salis.The team’s offensive performance was lackluster as a result of their inability to move the ball into the final third. Hughton’s dependence on Mohammed Kudus to incite inventiveness backfired, echoing his earlier losses to Mexico and the United States. Ghana was lucky not to concede during the defensive gamble in the first half.
2) Majeed Ashimeru is our universal charger in terms of attack.
Majeed Ashimeru’s introduction during the second half proved to be crucial for the Black Stars. Ashimeru, who came on for Baba Iddrisu, demonstrated his abilities by leading the team forward with accurate passes and explosive runs. His impactful performance demonstrated the team’s need for his special abilities, which have been lacking for a very long time.
3) Persistent Defense Issues
The team’s cautious strategy against Madagascar, points to a continuous search for a reliable defensive configuration. The coaching staff must choose players who can contribute both offensively and defensively in order to find suitable replacements for the injured defensive players.It is very crucial that going forward the team gets versatile defenders who can fit into diverse tactics and systems Tariq Lamptey could be that player should he stay fit.
3)Black Stars midfield woes.
Given the poor showing in the first half, Chris Hughton will need to address the midfield’s shortcomings right away. The team showed a noticeable deficiency in vigor and commitment, especially when it came to pressing and recovering after losing possession. In the first half the team could simply not keep and maintain momentum. The coaching staff needs to find players with similar technical skill sets to Majeed Ashimeru. Players who can advance the ball and improve their attacking ability are essential to the development and success of the team.
The clock keeps ticking and we simply cannot afford to make such mistakes knowing that we have to qualify to the 2026 World Cup.One way or the other these are preparatory games for the AFCON and we cannot afford to embarrass ourselves yet again.
Ghana is now third with three points after other Group I encounters saw Comoros beat Central African Republic 4-2 Mali beat Chad 3-1.Ghana will face Comoros on Tuesday November 21.