Africa Cup of Nations
Best result: Runners-Up in 1972
Road to 2017 AFCON:
Top of Group C with 16 points
Mali 2-0 South Sudan
Benin 1-1 Mali
Mali 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea 0-1 Mali
South Sudan 0-3 Mali
Mali 5-2 Benin
Coach: Alain Giresse
The diminutive Frenchman coaches a country at the Nations Cup for the fourth time, having qualified Gabon for the 2010 finals, taken Mali to third place two years later but disappointed with Senegal two years ago.
The 64-year-old has also coached at club level in Morocco and had two spells with Toulouse and a brief stint in charge at Paris St Germain.
But he is best known for his playing days, as part of a dynamic French midfield which included Michel Platini, and reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Giresse played more than 500 games for Girondins Bordeaux and almost 100 for Olympique Marseille and earned 47 caps with France.
Key player: Adama Traore. Age: 21. Midfielder.
Best player at the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand and has quickly graduated to the full national team.
FIFA's technical report described him as a technically outstanding and highly intelligent midfielder who shaped his team's play.
Made his Ligue 1 debut at Lille before being sold to Monaco in mid-2015 for a 14 million euros ($14.74 million).
Made his national team debut in Aug. 2015.
FIFA world ranking Jan. 2017: 64