West African country makes fourth appearance in competition with ambition to at least play in the final
Mali coach Nouhoum Diane aspires to see Eagles reach 2021 final African Nations Championship where they will make a fourth appearance.
In previous editions, Mali had participated as a contender, but their best result in the competition was a second place in Rwanda 2016 – where they lost 3-0 to a DR Congo inspired by Elia Meschak.
This time around, however, their handler set a goal of reaching the final at least where they hoped to go further to win the tiara for the very first time.
“Head to our goal, the final. Chan is a very important goal. We need to be motivated, focused and win our duels. There is no easy team to face, ”Diane told the CAF website.
“You have to succeed in the first game to be able to tackle the following ones. We are among the favorites even if we will have to make a good first round in Group A first, against Cameroon, then Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso.
“Cameroon will not be easy in front of its home crowd, Burkina Faso is also progressing and Zimbabwe with its backbone almost like the pennant team.
“But we will have our say. Since teams are worth it and [there is] not a big difference. We had already reached the final in 2016. We will be in Cameroon to play at least the final and win Chan.
Mali begin their campaign against the Stallions on Saturday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaoundé, before facing the Indomitable Lions four days later. Their final group stage game clashes with the Warriors on January 24.
If they qualify in this area, they will be drawn against Libya, Congo, DR Congo or Republic of Niger in the quarterfinals.
The biennial football show was scheduled to take place in April 2020, but it was postponed after the Cameroonian hosts requested a postponement of the competition following the Covid-19 outbreak, which put an end to football activities.