Namibia hold Mali to book maiden AFCON knockout qualification 


Namibia managed to get a draw against Mali to progress to the knockout phase of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d'Ivoire 2023. 

The two sides played out at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro for a ticket in the knockout stage. Not much however was seen in terms of chances created.

Eric Chelle, Mali Head Coach had to deal with finding ways to get the results after his side showed signs of fatigue

Eric Chelle, Mali Head Coach

“We needed a turnover and a change of system because I saw a lot of fatigue in my players so I had to deal with all that. 

“We started well but afterward it was difficult because we were facing a regrouped block which proceeded against. 

“And they were dangerous. I wanted this first place but it is not done. The important thing is our qualification. 

“It is a pride to lead this team. We continue to work for the "We will have to be effective in our physical preparation for our next match."

Collin Benjamin, Namibia coach

“Proud to be Namibian, proud of my players, proud of their desire. It's huge. Losing 4-0 three days ago and bouncing back like that against a strong African team is huge. 

“Thanks to our character and mentality we managed to have this qualification. It was not written for us. 

“When we came here a few weeks ago, no one believed in us. We were told that we were small. We were counting the goals we were going to concede. But we showed that we were strong. 

“This is the message that I and my players sent today. Allow every Namibian to have dreams, that the dream is allowed for everyone but you have to work to make this dream come true”.


Namibia have qualified to the knockout phase of the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON for the first time in their history.