Mali coach hopes fans don’t follow Bafana out of the tournament
Mali coach Patrice Carteron is worried that Bafana Bafana’s elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations will not affect the number of supporters attending the remaining matches.
After beating South Africa on penalties on Saturday night, Carteron said he wished supporters would continue coming to the stadium.
Mali played in front of a capacity crowd at Moses Mabhida and Carteron said South African supporters have been good.
Although tickets for Wednesday’s semifinal clash at Moses Mabhida were sold out before participating teams could be confirmed, there are concerns that some of those who bought tickets may decide not to attend after Bafana exited the tournament.
Mali have booked a place against Nigeria, who beat pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast yesterday.
“I just hope they will not go with the home team. It is always the case when the home team is knocked out supporters also stay away but I hope this will not be the case,” said Carteron.
Even before he knew his semifinal opponent, the modest Frenchman downplayed his team’s chances in the tournament.
“We are always the underdogs irrespective of who we come up against. The most important thing for us now is to make sure the players recuperate well before the Wednesday game.”
Mali finished third at last year’s tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and Carteron said they were not under pressure to win the event. He said they would take it one game at a time.
Carteron confessed that his team had to dig deeper to beat Bafana. He said the home team could take pride in the way they performed and wished Bafana luck in the future.
“It was a good game of football and both teams played well. We had to be patient and absorb the pressure because we knew they were going to come at us. Fortunately for us we managed to get our penalties right.”