Black Stars brace for CAR challenge

Five days after a shock defeat of the Eagles of Mali in Ba­mako, the Black Stars of Ghana return to the Baba Yara Sports Stadium to face the Central Af­rican Republic (CAR) in a match day four qualifier of the 2026 FIFA World Cup jointly hosted by Mexico, USA and Canada.

The Black Stars recorded a dra­matic 2-1 victory over the Malians on Thursday in front of a mam­moth crowd that was sent into ruptures a 45th minute Kamory Doumbia goal.

But the Stars drew level with an Ernest Nuamah 58th minute header that forced the fans to sit on the edges of their seat and were silenced by a late Jordan Ayew strike to breathe life into the Stars campaign.

• A scene from the Mali - Ghana match
• A scene from the Mali – Ghana match

Ghana boasted of just a win and a loss in the first two matches but currently occupy third with six points, the same as Madagascar and Comoros in the first two but with inferior goal aggregate.

CAR is in fourth position with four points and would be in to give Ghana a difficult time as they aim to keep pace with the group leaders.

However, the feat over Mali has boosted the confidence of the Stars and would go for nothing shy of victory to prove the win over Mali was no fluke.

It was not so pleasant a per­formance by the Ghanaians but they did what matters in the game – defended well and took the few chances that came their way.

• The Black Stars squad that defeated Mali on Thursday
• The Black Stars squad that defeated Mali on Thursday

But at home, they are expected to be comfortable in front of an ex­pected large crowd at the Baba Yara Stadium although that in itself could build on the pressure on the team to score and win handsomely.

Ghana and CAR have been involved in two games at the highest level, with the Black Stars winning one and the other ending in a draw.

They have emerged as a new force on the continent, putting up inspira­tional performances against some of the powerhouses and today’s game against the Black Stars will be no exception.

But Oto Addo’s new look Stars look promising and one that could bring the fans back to the stands as they edge closer to another Mundial.

Thomas Partey and Salis Ahmed are expected to maintain their roles in midfield just as the defence, but what is not obvious is whether Jor­dan Ayew will start the game after registering his name on the score sheet.