Tuesday May 31, 2022. 17:00
Ghana and Madagascar get their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign underway this week as they prepare to do battle at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Wednesday night.
Kick-off is at 9pm CAT
Ghana and Madagascar occupy Group E, alongside Central African Republic and Angola, who begin their qualifying campaign this week as well.
As for Ghana, the Black Stars last featured in March when they concluded their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on a high, after seeing off Nigeria on away goals in a third round fixture and booked their place in the keenly anticipated showpiece.
Regarding their form, Ghana have not won a single game in 2022. Ghana suffered defeats to Algeria, Morocco and Comoros, while sharing the spoils with Gabon and Nigeria in their last six fixtures.
While Ghana will be without Thomas Partey and Alfred Dunan (retirement), the Ghana Football association confirmed that Joseph Aidoo has been ruled out of the game against Madagascar.
“Defender Joseph Aidoo has been ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023 qualifier between Ghana and Madagascar after picking up an injury during training,” the GFA said in a statement.
“The Celta Vigo man twisted his right ankle during training and has been ruled out of the game on Wednesday.
“Aidoo, who missed Monday’s training, is currently being observed by the medical team as the undergoes a thorough rehabilitation process to fully recover.”
As for the visitors, Madagascar will commence their first set of fixtures for the year, after their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign came to an end in November 2021, as they finished bottom in their group.
The African nation was scheduled to face Afghanistan in an International Friendly in March, however, the game was cancelled due to covid-19 infections among the Madagascar camp.
In their last five fixtures, Madagascar recorded just one win, which came against Congo in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, while suffering three losses and a draw along the way.
Ghana: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jordan Ayew: The Crystal Palace attacker has been a crucial component in attack for Ghana throughout his career, especially during Afcon qualifiers. In 22 qualifier appearances, Ayew scored seven goals, while turning creator on four occasions.
Daniel Amartey: With Partey out of action, Amartey will be without the Arsenal star’s usual screening in the middle of the park. The Leicester City defender is known for his versatility and could be an option in the defensive midfield position.
Madagascar: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Hakim Abdallah: The striker is Madagascar’s most recent scorer, after getting his name on the scoresheet in their 1-1 draw against Tanzania in November. Abdallah also scored seven goals, while recording two assists in 28 appearances for KSK Lierse Kempenzonen in the 1B Pro League this season.
Njiva Rakotoharimalala: Much like that of Abdallah, Rakotoharimalala has been a shining light for his national side in their most recent encounters. The goal scoring winger was on target in their 1-0 victory against Congo in October last year.