Mali coach still cautious over AFCON chances despite beating South Africa

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Jan 2024

Mali coach Eric Chelle is happy but remains cautious about his team’s chances in the current African Cup of Nations after Tuesday’s sudden 2-0 win over South Africa in the opening match.

Mali s head coach Eric Chelle
Mali s head coach Eric Chelle gives a press conference at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on January 15, 2024 on the eve of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Mali and South Africa. AFP


Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko scored in just six minutes in the second half to give Mali the precious victory over the Bafana Bafana who weren’t lucky after missing a penalty.

“I want to congratulate the players for this victory. During the first half, it wasn’t good. We were under pressure in the first half. During the second half, we showed intensity. We conceded a penalty, and had it been scored, it may have been a different outcome” Chelle was quoted as saying by CAF’s official website after the game.

“Each nation has its chance, and this tournament will be very interesting because each team has qualities,” he added.

Mali will face Tunisia on Saturday before facing Namibia in the final group-stage match on 24 January.

Despite the stunning winning debut, Chelle refuses to talk about his team's chances, believing that only working hard is the key to passing the next two games.

“I would not say we are favourites to win the group just yet. Yes, we got the victory but a lot can still happen. We still have matches to play and so we have to keep working hard” Chelle added.

Mali did not win the precious African Cup of Nations before; their best result in the tournament was finishing as runners-up once in the 1972 edition.

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