2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Abukari Damba questions intrinsic motivation for Black Stars players under Chris Hughton

Published on: 25 November 2023

Former Black Stars goalkeeper, Abukari Damba, has questioned players’ intrinsic motivation under Chris Hughton following the team's defeat against Comoros in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Ghana opened their qualifiers with a hard-fought 1-10 win against Madagascar at the Baba Yara Stadium.

However, in their second Group I game at the Stade de Moroni, Myziane Maolida’s solitary strike condemned the Black Stars to a defeat.

After two games played, the Black Stars occupy fourth on the group standings with 3 points, behind Madagascar, Mali & Comoros heading into the next set of qualifiers in June 2024.

Damba speaking in an interview pinned the defeat to some players not committing to the cause under the tutelage of Head Coach Chris Hughton.

"I always talk about the intrinsic motivation of these players, are these players self-motivated enough to play for the national team, these are some of the questions that we always have to ask," he told Citi Sports.

"But that notwithstanding, I still think we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves [Black Stars], both players and the technical team.

"So far, it is not looking too good, but we can always improve it.

"Again, emphasis on intrinsic motivation, whether they are self-motivated enough to be called upon to play for the senior national team.

"How do players feel when invited to come and play for the national, all these questions need to be answered.

"How do they approach games?

"Whether they play their hearts out and then we juxtapose that with what they play at the various clubs, then we can tell.

Chris Hughton’s men will now switch focus to the upcoming African Cup of Nations )AFCON) in Cote D’Ivoire commencing next year, in January.

The Black Stars have been paired with seven-time AFCON Champions Egypt, Mozambique and Cape Verde in Group B for the tournament.

Ghana exited at the group stage in the last edition, following a 3-2 loss to Comoros in the final group game under former coach, Milovan Rajevac