Madagascar coach Romuald Rakotondrabe acknowledged the pivotal role played by Ghana midfielder Majeed Ashimeru in Friday’s 1-0 victory at the Baba Yara Stadium during the 2026 World Cup qualifier.
Rakotondrabe admitted that Ghana gained an advantage with the introduction of Ashimeru, who showcased an exceptional performance after coming on in the second half, replacing Iddrisu Baba.
The coach revealed, “In the first 45 minutes, we were able to challenge Ghana. In the second half, he brought Majeed Ashimeru, and that changed everything. I told the boys to stop him because he brought energy. We tried and tried [but it did not work].”
Ashimeru’s impactful presence in the midfield, characterised by his driving runs and precise passes, created significant challenges for Madagascar.
Despite Rakotondrabe’s attempts to neutralise Ashimeru’s influence, Ghana ultimately found the breakthrough in the 95th minute, courtesy of Inaki Williams’ close-range header.
The match, according to the coach, was evenly balanced, with Madagascar even holding a slight advantage until Ashimeru’s introduction. Despite the defeat, Rakotondrabe remains optimistic, highlighting the team’s ability to challenge Ghana in the first half and expressing determination for future games.
For Ashimeru, the 26-year-old midfielder, the Friday match marked his third appearance for Ghana. Despite past setbacks due to injuries, he remains resolute in contributing significantly to future games.