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Ghana vs. Mali: Black Stars’ Starting Line-Up for Crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Ghana vs. Mali: Black Stars’ Starting Line-Up for Crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

In a pivotal clash in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Ghanaian national football team, the Black Stars, are set to face off against Mali at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako. As the West African giants aim to solidify their position in Group I, coach Otto Addo has made strategic decisions in the squad selection, notably opting to start Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew on the bench.

Strategic Formation and Tactical Overview

Otto Addo has elected a dynamic 3-4-3 formation, emphasizing both defensive solidity and attacking prowess. This setup reflects a balanced approach, crucial for securing a favorable result away from home.


Defensive Line-Up: The Backbone of Stability

At the heart of the defense, Lawrence Ati Zigi is entrusted with goalkeeping responsibilities. His reliability and shot-stopping abilities will be crucial in thwarting Mali’s attacking threats. The defensive trio consists of:

  • Alexander Djiku: Known for his robust defensive skills and ability to read the game, Djiku is a cornerstone in the backline.
  • Seidu Alidu: Bringing agility and defensive versatility, Alidu is expected to provide strong support.
  • Mohammed Salisu: Salisu’s physical presence and aerial ability will be vital in neutralizing aerial threats from set-pieces.

Midfield Dynamics: Control and Creativity

The midfield features a double pivot of:

  • Thomas Partey: His experience and composure in the midfield are invaluable. Partey’s role involves breaking up opposition play and initiating counter-attacks.
  • Abdul Salis Samed: Complementing Partey, Samed brings a mix of defensive diligence and passing accuracy.

On the flanks, the wing-back positions are occupied by:

  • Gideon Mensah: Positioned on the left, Mensah’s pace and crossing ability are assets for both defensive and offensive transitions.
  • Tariq Lamptey: On the right, Lamptey’s speed and dribbling skills provide an additional attacking outlet, stretching the opposition’s defense.

Attacking Force: Spearheading the Offensive

Leading the attack is the in-form Bournemouth striker Antoine Semenyo, whose goal-scoring prowess is expected to spearhead Ghana’s offense. Supporting him from the flanks are:

  • Mohammed Kudus: With his creativity and technical skills, Kudus is anticipated to be a constant threat to Mali’s defense.
  • Ernest Nuamah: Nuamah’s agility and ability to cut inside from the wing will provide additional goal-scoring opportunities and assist in link-up play.

Current Standing and Importance of the Match

Ghana currently sits fifth in Group I, having accrued three points from their two matches. Their campaign began with a victory over Madagascar but suffered a setback with a defeat to Comoros. This match against Mali is critical, as securing points is essential to boost their chances of qualifying for the World Cup in the USA, Mexico, and Canada.

Detailed Line-Up

Ghana vs Mali
Ghana vs Mali

The confirmed starting line-up for Ghana against Mali is as follows:

  1. Lawrence Ati Zigi (Goalkeeper)
  2. Alidu Seidu (Defender)
  3. Alexander Djiku (Defender)
  4. Mohammed Salisu (Defender)
  5. Gideon Mensah (Left Wing-Back)
  6. Tariq Lamptey (Right Wing-Back)
  7. Thomas Partey (Midfielder)
  8. Abdul Salis Samed (Midfielder)
  9. Mohammed Kudus (Forward)
  10. Ernest Nuamah (Forward)
  11. Antoine Semenyo (Striker)


As Ghana prepares to face Mali, the chosen line-up and tactical formation reflect a strategic approach aimed at maximizing its strengths. With a mix of experienced and in-form players, the Black Stars are poised to deliver a performance that could potentially reignite their World Cup qualification campaign. The match’s outcome will be pivotal, and all eyes will be on Bamako as the drama unfolds.

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