2026 World Cup qualifiers: Ghana legends and assistant coach optimistic about Black Stars’ group

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Ghanaian football legends Asamoah Gyan and John Paintsil, along with Black Stars assistant coach Massawud Didi Dramani, have expressed their optimism about Ghana’s group for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

The draw for the African qualifiers took place in Abidjan, and Ghana was placed in Group I alongside Madagascar, Comoros, Chad, Central African Republic, and Mali.

Speaking to the press after the draw, Asamoah Gyan, Africa’s all-time top scorer at the World Cup, revealed his confidence in Ghana’s chances of qualifying from the tricky group.

He stated, “Since 2006 when we first qualified, we’ve been consistent except in 2018. It looks like we’re getting used to the World Cup. Expectations are high back home, but the hope is that we’ll qualify.”

John Paintsil, another former player, shared his thoughts on the group, saying, “I don’t think it’s a difficult group, it’s rather tricky looking at Madagascar, Mali, and Comoros who have a history with us. They’re all going to have an upper hand playing against us because they’ve got both to lose. However, I believe we would be able to stand firm with enough preparations. We have to psyche ourselves and also not underestimate anyone.”

Assistant coach Massawud Didi Dramani also weighed in on the upcoming qualifiers, emphasizing the need to respect every opponent in the group. He stated, “Everyone is a threat, and we need not underestimate anyone. We have to put together a good team, keep the right mentality, and keep focusing on games one after the other.”

The new format for the World Cup qualifiers will see the winners of each group automatically qualifying for the tournament. Additionally, the best four second-placed teams from all nine groups will enter a Continental play-off, which will involve teams from different confederations.

The Ghanaian football legends and assistant coach are aware of the challenges that lie ahead but remain optimistic about the Black Stars’ chances. The qualifiers are scheduled to begin in November, with the final games taking place in October 2025.

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