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Profiling the AFCON teams: Mali

Mali will be participating in their 11th AFCON tournament. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)

Mali will be featuring in their 11th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament and the 7th in a row since 2002. The Eagles have never won the AFCON title but finished as runners ups in 1972.

In the 2019 edition, Mali is in Group E alongside Tunisia, Mauritania and Angola.

Mali did not enter into qualification for the first four AFCON tournaments between 1957 and 1963.

From 1955 to 70, Mali attempted to qualify for the three editions but always failed.]

Their first participation at the finals would eventually come in 1972, one that has good memories to it. At the group stages, the Eagles finished second behind Cameroon in Group A. They went on to defeat Zaire 4-3 after extra-time in the semis.

However, Mali lost 2-3 to Congo in the finals to finish as runners ups.

Mali were losing finalist in their debut AFCON in 1972.

What happened after is a spell of 20 years that Mali would prefer to forget in their history as they failed to qualify for the next 10 AFCON tournaments.

Their next appearance came in Tunisia 1994. After finishing second in Group A which featured Tunisia and Zaire, Mali defeated Egypt 1-0 in the quarter finals.

However, they lost to both Zambia and Ivory Coast in the semis and third place playoff game, to finish 4th in the competition.

In the next three editions from 1996 and 2000, Mali would fail to qualify for the AFCON finals.

They made their return for the 2002 edition, their home edition, finishing fourth once again, the same position they managed in 2004.

2006 would be another disappointment for the Eagles as they failed to qualify for the finals in Egypt.

For 2008 and 2010, Mali qualified for AFCON but twice failed to progress past the group stage.

Both 2012 and 13 saw Mali finish third after falling short in the semis. For the 2012 edition, they lost 0-1 to Ivory Coast while in 2013; they were defeat 1-4 by Nigeria.

In 2015 and 2017, they once again made it to the finals but failed to get out of their respective groups.

Coach

Mohamed Magassouba

Magassouba is a 51 year old coach who is the care-taker of Mali.

He has previously worked as a technical director for Mali and was named care-taker coach in 2019.

Magassouba is Mali’s care-taking coach.

Star Player

Moussa Marega

Marega is a French-forward, who plays for Portuguese side FC Porto.

He began his career in France, playing no higher than the Championnat National, and after one year with Esperance in Tunisia he moved to Maritimo in Portugal in 2015. Shortly afterwards, he signed for FC Porto. After spending 2016/17 on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes he became a regular in the Porto side and won a League title.

Marega made his international debut for Mali in 2015 and has gone on to score 2 goals in 19 games.

Marega has scored two goals in 19 games for Mali.

Projection: Second Round

Mali’s fixtures at AFCON 2019

-Mali vs Mauritania, 24nd June
-Tunisia vs Mali, 28th June
-Mali vs Angola, 02th July

Mali’s 23 man squad for AFCON 2019

Goalkeepers: Djigui Diarra (Stade Malien), Adama Keita (Djoliba), Ibrahima Mounkoro (TP Mazembe/COD)

Defenders: Mamadou Fofana (Metz/FRA), Massadio Haidara (Lens/FRA), Youssouf Kone (Lille/FRA), Boubacar Kiki Kouyate (Troyes/FRA), Falaye Sacko (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR), Hamari Traore (Rennes/FRA), Molla Wague (Nottingham Forest/ENG)

Midfielders: Lassana Coulibaly (Rangers/SCO), Cheick Doucoure (Lens/FRA), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig/GER), Diadie Samassekou (Salzburg/AUT), Adama Traore (Cercle Bruges/BEL)

Forwards: Kalifa Coulibaly (Nantes/FRA), Abdoulaye Diaby (Sporting/POR), Moussa Djenepo (Southampton/ENG), Moussa Doumbia (Reims/FRA), Sekou Koita (Wolfsberg/AUT), Moussa Marega (Porto/POR), Adama Niane (Charleroi/BEL), Adama Traore (Orleans/FRA)

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