Partey to lead Black Stars in World Cup qualifiers

André Ayew has been left out of Otto Addo's 26-man squad for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mali and the Central African Republic

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey will captain the Black Stars for their upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mali and the Central African Republic, Ghana head coach Otto Addo confirmed on Wednesday (29 May).

The announcement came during a press conference at the Ghana Football Association (GFA) headquarters, where Addo unveiled his 26-man squad for the crucial matches.

Notably absent from the list was regular skipper André Ayew, sparking questions about the captaincy.

“Thomas Partey,” Addo responded definitively when asked about the captaincy.

However, Addo stressed that this decision is specific to the upcoming qualifiers, leaving the door open for Ayew’s return. “I will never say never because I don’t know what will happen next season; the door is always open but this is a decision for this period,” he explained.

Partey, a key player for English Premier League (EPL) side Arsenal, will be looking to inspire a strong performance from the Black Stars as they aim to reignite their qualification campaign.

Preparations for the fixtures begin on Thursday (30 May), at the University of Ghana Stadium in Accra.

The Black Stars face Mali on Thursday (6 June) in Bamako before returning home to host the Central African Republic on Monday (10 June) at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

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