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World Cup 2026 qualifiers: Black Stars takes on Mali tonight - Preview

By primenewsghana
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Ghana’s Black Stars will seek to return to winning ways when they meet Mali’s Eagles at the Stade 26 Mars in Bamako later today at 7 pm.

Black Stars suffered a catastrophic loss in their most recent World Cup qualifying match against the Comoros, and they are now fourth in Group I with three points.

Mali is second in the group with four points and would try to extend their impressive 10-match unbeaten home streak, which has lasted two years.

However, the Black Stars last visit to Mali saw them beat the Eagles 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier back in 2009.

Mali, who have never qualified for the World Cup, would be looking to avenge their 2009 loss and put them in pole position to top the group.

There is no doubt Mali would be firm favourites for this clash considering their remarkable form at the recently held African Cup of Nations (AFCON), while their wounded counterparts, Ghana, will seek a fresh start under coach Otto Addo after a disastrous AFCON campaign.

Team News

The Black Stars of Ghana have been boosted with the return of two key players, Thomas Partey and Mohammed Kudus, who missed out on the last friendly matches against Nigeria and Uganda.

However, Andre Ayew will not feature in the match after he was left out by coach Otto Addo, who announced his 26-man squad last week.

Ghana will also miss seven key players due to injury, and they include Inaki Williams, Joseph Paintsil, Majeed Ashimeru, Baba Iddrisu, Nathaniel Adjei, Denis Odoi, and Daniel Amartey.

The Eagles of Mali, on the other hand, will also be missing the services of their captain, Hamari Traore, who is still serving the four-match suspension he received at the 2023 AFCON.

Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Yves Bissoum will miss the clash due to injury, while Amiens’ centre back Mamadou Fofana and Salim Diankate have received their debut call ups.

Probable Ghana starting lineup: Lawrence Ati-Zigi (GK) Alidu Seidu, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, Salis Samed, Thomas Partey, Fatawu Issahaku, Mohammed Kudus, Jordan Ayew, Antoine Semenyo

Probable Mali Starting Lineup: Djigui Diarra (GK), Falaye Sacko, Boubakar Kouyate, Modibo Sagnan, Saliou Guindo, Kalifa Coulibaly, Diadie

Samassekou, Amadou Haidara, Kamory Doumbia, El Bilal Toure Lassine Sinayoko