In three previous appearances, Mali has consistently featured among the potential contenders without ever managing to win the title. They came closest in 2016 when they finished second. Now they are hoping to win their first title.
Mali will play their fourth Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), out of six editions.
The last one in 2016 is remembered. Beaten in the final (0-3) by DR Congo in Rwanda, the Local Eagles are keen to make people forget the elimination of the previous edition in Morocco and especially the underperformance of 2011 in Sudan, when they were eliminated in the 1st round with only one point collected, as well as 2014 in South Africa, eliminated in the quarterfinals.
The team that will line up this year is unlike the one that played in the 2016 final against DR Congo. It will count on a number of players who have played at least two editions of this tournament, who will bring their experience to the group.
In their West (WAFU) Zone A, Mali achieved the double over Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.
Player to watch:
The defender is by far one of Mali’s best players. In Rwanda four years ago, he was instrumental in qualifying his team for the final. His performance in the playoffs and with the U-23 team earned him the player of the season award by listeners at a local radio station in Bamako.
At 25, he intends to try to play a second final and why not lift the trophy.
Coach : Nouhoum Diané
“Head to our goal, the final. CHAN is a very important goal. We have to be motivated, focused and win our duels. There is no easy team to face. You have to succeed in the first game to be able to tackle the following ones. We are among the favorites even though we will have to have a good first round in Group A first, against Cameroon, then Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso. Cameroon will not be easy in front of their home crowd, Burkina Faso is progressing too and Zimbabwe with their backbone almost like the pennant team. But we will have our say. Since the teams are worth it and not a big difference. We have already reached the final in 2016. We will be in Cameroon to play at least the final and win the CHAN ”