2026 World Cup: 5 Key Black Stars players return for Mali, CAR qualifiers

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Despite excluding Ghana captain Andre Ayew from Otto Addo’s latest Black Stars squad ahead of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, some key players have returned to the fray many of them who have been sidelined due to injury and a drop in performances.

The likes of Arsenal’s Thomas Partey and Alexander Djiku appear to be in great shape for the assignment ahead alongside other talents as Ghana prepares to face Mali and Central African Republic.

Here are five key players returning to the Black Stars squad for the crucial games.

Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey last featured for Ghana in October 2023 and his inclusion would be a major boost for the team whose qualification now hangs in the balance.

With the exclusion of Andre Ayew, Partey would be taking over as the team’s captain and Otto Addo would hope he brings his experience to the team.

Having been injured at the start of the season, Partey returned to help Arsenal secure a Champions League spot while finishing second in the Premier League.
His injury-plagued season saw the midfielder feature just 14 times for the Gunners.

Kamaldeen Sulemana

Southampton’s Kamaldeen Sulemana is one of the players who has been reinstated to the team. Kamaldeen’s pace and trickery had got him into the Black Stars at a younger age but a decline in form coupled with injuries saw the former Rennes man lose his place in the team.

However, the youngster is returning to the Black Stars for the first time in six months with his last appearance coming in the World Cup qualifiers against Comoros.

Sulemana has not been in top form per his own abilities but may have been trusted due to his past exploits with the Black Stars. With Southampton, he registered three assists in 25 Championship games helping the team regain its Premier League status.

Alexander Djiku

Alexander Djiku last featured for the Black Stars during the 2023 AFCON in January this year. His ability to marshal the defence has seen him become one of the first list on the team when fit. However, injuries saw him miss out on the last Black Stars squad.

The experienced defender swapped Strasbourg for Feberbache and having chipped in 3 goals while playing in the heart of the Fenerbache defence in 25 games this season, Djiku is on course to to deliver for the Black Stars.

Mohammed Kudus

Mohammed Kudus missed the last assignment due to injury and is back in the team for the crucial qualifiers.

The 23-year-old was Ghana’s best player at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scoring two crucial goals despite Ghana’s early exit.

He will be a key player for the four-time African Champions as Ghana aim to bounce back and climb up the table with eyes set on reaching their fifth World Cup tournament.

Abdul Mumin

Mumin who was only handed a first Black Stars call-up during Otto Addo’s first stint in 2022.

After injury ruined his chances of playing against Comoros and Madagascar, the Rayo Vallecano centre-back now be available for the two games on June 6, and June 10.
The 25-year-old has played 20 league games already this season while scoring a goal.

Having exited the 2022 World Cup at the group stages, Otto Addo hopes his second coming will have a different impact. The former Black Stars defender would be hoping he can guide the Black Stars to the World Cup in 2026