Ghana secured a 1-0 victory over Madagascar in the opening qualifier for the 2026 Fifa World Cup. The Black Stars had dominated the game and looked set to be frustrated by the Malagasy goalkeeper, Melvin Adrien. However, Inaki Williams managed to powerfully head in a cross from Gideon Mensah in injury time, securing the win for Ghana.
The Malagasy goalkeeper, who plays in the fourth tier in France, made several saves to deny Williams, Majeed Ashimeru, and West Ham midfielder Mohammed Kudus in the second half. Despite being 48 places above Madagascar in the world rankings, Ghana could have even won by a larger margin. El Hadary Raheriniaina fired over and a header from captain Njiva Rakotoharimalala came back off the right-hand upright.
In other World Cup qualifiers, Leicester City striker Patson Daka scored twice as Zambia came from behind to beat Congo 4-2. Comoros also won their match against Central African Republic while Guinea and Libya began their campaigns with wins over Uganda and Eswatini respectively. All group winners of the African qualifiers will secure a spot at the 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Guinea’s Seydouba Cisse netted for his team in injury time, giving them a narrow 2-1 win over Uganda while Libya started their Group D campaign with a 1-0 away win against Eswatini. Meanwhile, Comoros beat Central African Republic while Eswatini and Guinea are among 17 African nations that have been forced to play their home qualifiers at neutral grounds due to safety reasons or lack of international-standard stadiums.