Packed stadium will motivate Mali
Mali relishes the opportunity of playing in front of a capacity Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow evening. Kick-off is at 8.30pm.
The team played their first two group games in front of a relatively poor crowd at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and a decent one at the Moses Mabhida on Monday.
Mali coach Patrice Carteron said the quarterfinal game against Bafana Bafana at a packed stadium will not intimidate his players but will serve as an extra motivation.
“It would be good for the football and for the tournament to play in front of a packed stadium and we are looking forward to that,” said Carteron, who is guiding Mali for the first time in the tournament.
After finishing third at last year’s tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Carteron said they wanted to go all the way to the final and believed this was possible.
“No team came here without the ambition of winning the tournament and we are no different.”
He said tomorrow’s game would be one of the most important games of his career and he was looking forward to playing against the host country.
He said he wanted to bring joy to the Malian people by winning the game in their honour. Carteron said he was touched when he learnt that people of Timbuktu watched their game against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday for the first time in many, many years.
It was clear from the French-born coach’s comments that they would go for physical strength against Bafana tomorrow. He said he was satisfied with his midfield in the game against the DRC but expected a bruising battle with Bafana midfielders.
“Our approach will be different from the game against DRC. We have been able to evaluate the team, especially our physically capability, of each player.”
He said he had no doubt that his reserve goalkeeper, Soumaila Diakite, would be able to step into Mamadou Samassa’s shoes. Samassa is suspended for tomorrow’s game.