GHANA v. MALI: what they are saying

January 21, 2017

There are no easy games for any team. This tournament is very tough even in the qualifiers. We played a friendly against Mali that ended in a 1-1 draw in Paris. They are a good and well organized team but we know what we want to do.

We are not happy for Baba Rahman’s injury as he is one of our best and most promising players. We are going to miss him as a player and as a person too. But we have a squad of 23 players and I’m sure the one who replacehim will do a very good job.

Andre Ayew was not feeling good yesterday. We have to wait and see his condition after the afternoon training session.

We know Mali is a good and very physical team, but I don’t think we are a weak one either. We will play on our positive points. Every team has its strength and weakness points, and we have to work on that.

I think we played a very good first half against Uganda. We were a bit tired in the second half because most of my players don’t play regularly, and also we didn’t have enough preparation. We showed good character and the important thing was to win. It’s is a very tight tournament and I see many teams that have the qualities to go far.

I never think negative, and the people in Ghana know what the profile of their team is. We were not the favourites at the last AFCON (in 2015), yet we reached the final. We just think of winning the next game and then let anything happen. We are not the only candidates. Even that we have lots of problems but we will show the character we’ve got like we did two years ago.

I think so far the level of football here is high and I have enjoyed most of the games. The gap between the teams is very small and any team can win, and that is a good development for Africa.

Alain Giresse (Head Coach, Mali) 
We remain positive after our first match against Egypt (0-0 draw).

We have prepared well for the Ghana game. We will apply the suitable strategy for this game and do whatever it takes to win this match. We have to get rid of the defects we had against Egypt.

I was satisfied with our performance in the first match, but definitely I would have hoped for a win.

Ghana is a very good team and you have to be in your best form when you play against them. We have to be mentally and physically strong.

I may apply some changes to the line-up as I am thinking of a change to the formation too.

Ghana is different from Egypt so I have to adopt a new approach.

I will make sure to use all our technical and physical means to grab maximum points.

Our aim is to reach the next round and beating Ghana will put our feet already there.

Injured duo of Adama Traore and Soumeila Diakite started training and they feel better now. They may take part tomorrow.

Yacouba Sylla (Captain, Mali)
The spirit is high in our camp. We are going to give our best to win this game [against Ghana].

The pitch is not at its best condition, but it is the same for all the teams so we have nothing to complain about.

We are very sad and touched about the tragic events back home in Mali.

We talked about that this morning, but we have to focus on our next match.

We want to win so that we can give our people something to cheer about.

SOURCE: cafonline

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