Ghana’s senior national team, the Black Stars will know their opponents for the qualifiers of the 2026 World Cup to be hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada on Thursday, July 13.
The draw which will involve Ghana and 53 other African countries will be conducted at the Sofitel Hotel in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The 54 teams have been grouped into six pots that was arrived at due to the latest FIFA ranking which was released earlier this month. Teams ranked in the CAF’s top 8 will be in pot 1, from 9-16 in pot 2 and so on.
Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia, Cameroon, Mali and Egypt find themselves in pot one. Four times African Cup of Nations (AFCON) winners Ghana miss out on a place in pot one.
The Black Stars who are targeting a place at the World Cup for the 5th time in their history are pitted in pot two alongside South Africa, Burkina Faso and so on.
In the draw, the teams will be drawn into nine groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The winner of each group will qualify for the World Cup.
Consequently, the best four second placed teams from across all nine groups will enter into a Continental play-off to determine one winner who will then proceed to a second and final play-off which will include six teams from the other different confederations.
The top two of these six will qualify for the World Cup to make up the 48 teams.
The qualifiers are scheduled to start in November this year, with Match Day One and Two scheduled for between 13-21 November, while the third and fourth match days are scheduled for June 2024.
The last match day will be in the week of October 6-14 while the Continental play-off will be staged between 10-18 November 2025 at a venue to be communicated later.
At the Qatar World Cup last year, Africa was represented by Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia.
Morocco finished fourth and made history by becoming the first ever African country to reach the semi-finals. Senegal were knocked out in the round of 16, while Cameroon, Ghana and Tunisia failed to go beyond their respective groups.
Credit: Mahama Shaibu