The senior national team, the Black Stars, will leave Ghana for Antananarivo, Madagascar, today ahead of their penultimate 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against the Barea of Madagascar on Sunday at the Kianja Barea Mahamasina Stadium at 4pm.
With AJ Auxerre’s Gideon Mensah withdrawing due to injuries, the 25 players invited, including Bechem United’s Hafiz Konkoni, is expected to make the trip.
The Black Stars, who are a victory away from securing qualification to next year’s tournament in Cote d’Ivoire, have been in camp in Accra since Monday, preparing for the fixture against the whipping boys of group E.
Addressing the press conference on Tuesday, Coach Chris Hughton, said Mensah sustained an injury while playing for his club, AJ Auxerre, in the French league.
He said “Mensah wanted to be here with the national team, and that is a good sign. It was our responsibility to assess him. With the medical information at our disposal, we feel we do not have to risk him, hence excusing him from this game.”
He ruled out any late call-ups in Mensah’s place, vowing to work with the players in camp.
Ghana currently leads the group with eight points from four games, followed by the Central African Republic on seven points, followed by Angola in third place with five points.
Madagascar, who lie bottom of the log with just a single point, lost 3-0 to Ghana at the Cape Coast Stadium in June last year with goals from Kudus Mohammed, Felix Afena-Gyan, and Osman Bukari.
Thirty-eight year-old FIFA referee, Patrice Milazar, from Mauritius will take charge of the game and will be assisted by compatriots Ram Babajee and Jean Marc Jeff Pithia as assistants one and two respectively with Ahmad Imtehaz Heeralall acting as the fourth official.
Sinon Philip Georges from Seychelles will be the match commissioner, with Rwanda’s Hudu Munyemana playing the referee assessor role and Helly Zafinimanga from Madagascar working as the pre-match ceremony coordinator.
After Sunday’s game, the Black Stars will host Les Fauves (the Wild Beast) of the Central African Republic in September to wrap up the qualifiers