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HomeNewsBafana aim to do ‘something special’ against impressive Mali

Bafana aim to do ‘something special’ against impressive Mali

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos and Percy Tau speak to the media ahead of their first match on Tuesday against Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament.

DD160124p14LEAD v2 Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos and Percy Tau speak to the media ahead of their first match on Tuesday against Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament.
Image: BackPagePix/Samuel Shivambu

As Bafana Bafana look to start their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign on a positive note when they face Mali at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium on Tuesday (10pm) in Korhogo, Ivory Coast, they are aware that their opponents will not be pushovers.

Bafana will have to show their mettle to overcome Mali after they failed to get results in their last two meetings in the Afcon.

The previous two meetings ended in defeats for Bafana as Mali emerged victorious both in the quarterfinals.

They won 2-0 in 2002 and on penalties in 2013 at Moses Mabhida Stadium after the match finished in a draw. Also, Mali have not lost an opening game at Afcon, winning seven and drawing five and they come into this tournament with impressive form.

They have won four of their last five matches, including their 6-2 thumping of Guinea-Bissau in their preparation game before the Afcon.

But Bafana coach Hugo Broos highlighted the importance of making a perfect start in the competition to set the tone for the other matches in their Group E.

“We are looking forward to playing. We are aware that we have a tough opponent with Mali,” Broos told the media during the press conference yesterday.

“On the other hand, we believe in our chances and I hope that we will achieve our best level so we can win the game because it is very important for a tournament like this that we can start with a victory.”

Striker Percy Tau also admitted that they face a tough battle against Mali, but that they plan to do something special in the tournament and want to start on a positive note.

“Most of the players are used to travelling and playing outside the country, we have handled everything quite well and we are looking forward to the game,” Tau said.

“The pitch is great. We saw it in the morning [yesterday]. We are playing against a difficult side. Our group is difficult. We have Namibia and Tunisia, so we are looking forward to those matches.

’We do believe in ourselves. We are not overconfident. We are grounded, but that does not take away that we believe we can do something special. We want to do something special, that’s the bottom line.” 

Tuesday’s matches

Burkina Faso v Mauritania, 4pm; Tunisia v Namibia, 7pm; Mali v SA, 10pm