Mali v Mauritania – A derby to watch

Mali celebrate a goal during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Western neighbors Mali and Mauritania lock horns in Douala, as Group F of the ongoing TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations reaches its final day.

Mali are joint top with Gambia on four points, one more than Tunisia while Mauritania trails the group pointless.

Match Card

Date: 20 January 2022

Time: 20:00 local time (19:00 GMT)

Venue: Japoma Stadium, Douala

Group: F

Match: Mali vs Mauritania

Mali (2)

Mali – Confirming qualification

With four points in hand, The Eagles look on the verge of the second round already. But Mali will play to confirm qualification, and also compete for the group’s top spot.

Mali started the campaign with a 1-0 over Tunisia, before being held to a 1-1 draw with debutants Gambia. They will face Mauritania for the second AFCON in a row, after winning 4-1 in Suez, Egypt in 2019. Diadie Samassekou and Moussa Djenepo, scorers on that day are still in The Eagles’ ranks and would like to repeat the feat again on Thursday.

Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Mali Press Conference

What they said

Mohamed Magassouba (Coach, Mali)

“Our goal is to win the game to finish first in our group. We know that it will not be easy against Mauritania who has made a lot of progress in recent years. The context of the match will make things even more complicated. My players are competitors, they know that nothing is written in advance in a football match.”

Hamari Traoré (Captain, Mali)

 “We are not here to make calculations. The objective is to win and go through. We want to progress in this competition and write our own history, and it starts in the group stage. At the AFCON, all teams are difficult to play.”

Mauritania (3)

Mauritania – Leaving with heads high

Two defeats in as many matches means Mourabitones are heading out whatever the result they get on Thursday. Yet, Mauritania will play to prove a point, that they want to leave with their heads high.

Mourabitones are yet to taste victory in their AFCON history, with three losses and two draws. And while the road to TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations 2023 is set to kick off soon, Mauritania will start the preparations from the Mali game in Douala.

Mauritania coach Didier Gomes Da Rosa (2)

What they said

Didier Gomes Da Rosa (Coach, Mauritania)

“We are disappointed to have lost our two games, especially against Gambia. We deserved a draw at least. Mali is a great team which is one of the favorites. Our objective is to go from the front door, achieve a positive result. We are part of the Mauritania project, and we want to leave a nice impression about ourselves.”

Houssen Abderrahmane (Defender, Mauritania)

“Against Mali, we have no choice, we have to redeem ourselves for the Mauritanian people by playing a good game. We lacked concentration and we will now have to put all the assets on our side to win and get out of this tournament with our heads high.”