Mali’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations rest on them beating Uganda – and a favour from Ghana.
The Eagles will take on the Pharaohs in their final Group D clash at Stade d’Oyem on Wednesday evening, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.
Mali suffered a 1-0 defeat to Ghana in their last outing, meaning their hopes of progressing are no longer in their own hands. They need to defeat the Cranes and hope that the Black Stars beat Egypt in a concurrent match in Port-Gentil.
Anything less will see Alain Giresse and his team eliminated from the AFCON in the group stage for a second successive time.
« Every coach has his share of responsibility for this result. It is true that we did not perform in the first half,” said Giresse after the defeat to Ghana.
“I assume responsibility for the first half. Just as I also assume responsibility for second half, thanks to the changes made and which could have allowed us to return to score in this meeting.
“Indeed, realism and efficiency have been lacking on these first two matches, especially today. »
Mali at least still have a chance of progressing. Uganda, in contrast, have been mathematically eliminated from the tournament after successive 1-0 losses to Ghana and Egypt. The best they can hope for is to avoid the wooden spoon.
Nonetheless, coach Milutin Sredojevic wants to see his side exit the tournament with their heads held high. « We want to go home with element of pride and win the game against Mali,” said the Serbian.
Uganda – Tony Mawejje
Tony Mawejje put in a powerful performance against Egypt, but it still wasn’t enough to lead his side to a positive result. The powerful attacking midfielder will look to produce one more Herculean effort to ensure the Cranes exit the 2017 AFCON with their heads held high.
Mali – Bakary Sako
Bakary Sako has been one of Mali’s more potent attackers thus far, though the fact that they have yet to score a goal in the tournament doesn’t reflect well on him. The English-based winger will want to inspire Mali to victory and hope that it is enough to see them through to the last eight.
Head-to-Head – Uganda v Mali
Uganda FIFA ranking: 73
Mali FIFA ranking: 64
Matches played: 2
Uganda wins: 0
Mali wins: 1
Uganda goals scored: 3
Mali goals scored: 7
Last match: 19 January 2016 in Gisenyi – Mali 2-2 Uganda