Mali have been one of the more impressive sides at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire as they seek to end their almost 60-year wait for a maiden continental title, and might feel this could be their year.
They eased past Burkina Faso in the last-16 with a victory that was more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggests, and now have a quarterfinal against the Ivorians, who blow hot and cold, but are certainly beatable.
“We need to be humble in our victory and continue with hard work,” Mali coach Eric Chelle said. “I am very happy for the players. They deserve the victory because they are a group of hard workers. I think victory was well deserved but the lesson learnt is that 2-0 can be a dangerous score against a determined team.
“I have some friends and former teammates in our next opponent (Cote d’Ivoire) so this will also be an interesting fixture for me. We know that it will be difficult against them, but we will bring our quality and give it our best against them. I want to emphasise the importance of humility in this victory.” Striker Lassine Sinayoko, who scored his third goal of the campaign, hailed the fighting spirit of his teammates against the Burkinabe and the desire to hold on for victory.
“It was a really tough match against a good side. We had to work extra hard, but I am glad we eventually got the result,” Sinayoko said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done so we can celebrate this victory but still keep at the back of our minds that there is still a lot of work ahead.”
Mali’s clash with Cote d’Ivoire will be played in Bouake on Saturday. – SuperSport