Black Stars
Black Stars

Former Ghana defender, John Paintsil, says Mali will not be a threat to the Black Stars in the upcoming qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

The four-time African champions are in Group I alongside Mali, Comoros, Chad, Madagascar, and the Central African Republic.

With Mali being tipped to be Ghana’s headache, Paintsil, who played at the 2006 and 2010 Mundial, said Ghana has what it takes to secure a win over the Eagles.

John Paintsil
John Paintsil

“Countries paired against Ghana in the group have an upper hand because they have nothing to lose playing us. If we beat them, it’s no use, but if they beat us, it’s big news and that tells you it’s a tricky group,” he told Graphic Sports.

“Mali is the most stubborn football country in Africa because they can upset you anytime.”

Despite recognising the threat of Mali, the former Premier League player said they are no more a strong force.

“It was during 2012 when Mali was in top form,” he continued.

“I thought they could build on their form but looking at them now, I don’t think they are strong like before.”

There is a long way between now and the start of the qualifiers for the World Cup, which is in 2026, but Ghana’s road to the Mundial begins in November 2023.

Ghana will hope to secure its fifth global showpiece qualification.