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2026 WCQ: Ghana hit by setbacks as Sulemana and Mumin withdraw from squad for opening matches

The two players say they are not ready for international duties at the moment.

Ghana’s preparation for the start of the African qualifying campaign for the 2026 Fifa World Cup has encountered a setback with the withdrawal of two players, Kamaldeen Sulemana and Khalid Abdul Mumin.

Head coach Chris Hughton, who included the duo in his 25-man squad last Thursday, has had to adjust his plans ahead of the crucial Group I fixtures.

Ghana is set to face Madagascar in Kumasi on Friday, November 17, followed by a clash against Comoros in Moroni four days later.

Winger Sulemana, fresh from contributing 66 minutes to Southampton’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough in the English Championship, and in-form centre-back Mumin, who played the full match for Rayo Vallecano in their Spanish LaLiga defeat to Girona, have both communicated their unavailability despite having no injury concerns from their club commitments over the weekend.

It is understood that Sulemana, after only recently returning to full fitness at his club, feels he needs time to regain form before making himself available for national duties.

Similarly, Mumin, who has not been close to the national team since the 2021 Afcon group stage exit and has begun gaining consistent game time at new club Rayo Vallecano, also believes he requires additional time to compose himself for national team responsibilities.

Further affirming Mumin’s unavailability for Ghana, Rayo Vallecano did not include the 23-year-old in their list of stars out of international duties on Monday.

In response to the setbacks, Coach Hughton has promptly turned to his standby options for replacement callups in Leicester City’s Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and defender Nurudeen Abdulai from Ghana Premier League champions Medeama SC, ensuring a seamless transition in the squad.

As the Black Stars kicked off their camp in Accra on Monday, players from various clubs converged to begin preparations. The squad is scheduled to relocate to Kumasi on Tuesday, gearing up for the crucial fixtures.

Ghana, eager for a strong start to their quest for a fifth appearance at the Fifa World Cup, will host Madagascar at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Friday, aiming to secure a positive outcome in the opening match of the qualifying campaign.

 

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