Mali coach Diane Nouhoum has admitted that their TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) tie towards Mauritania on Tuesday shouldn’t be precisely a simple victory.
The Eagles have been tipped by many as favourites as the 2 sides match up of their final Group D fixture on the ongoing match hosted by Algeria.
Chatting with the media within the pre-match press convention on Monday, Nouhoum highlighted that there aren’t any small groups on the match and that each staff deserves to be revered no matter their historical past.
Mali, who reached two CHAN finals in 2016 in Rwanda and in 2021 in Cameroon, don’t need to be distracted by their previous success however as a substitute give attention to the duty at hand.
“We know that it will not be easy to win against a team that is achieving progress day by day. If I am not mistaken, they have the same players who play in their Team A which makes things very difficult for us. Every team in this tournament is great and we know that Mauritania have good momentum right now,” Nouhoum admitted.
Mali have one level from one recreation following a commendable comeback to overturn a 3-1 deficit to stage the scoreline 3-3 towards Angola of their opener – a surprising efficiency that gave them a lifeline to progress to the following stage.
“We sent a clear message in our last game. There are some things that you cannot do with young players especially in the defence aspect. We shall focus on the individual and team aspect. Angola have very good players. They managed to score three goals. At halftime, we tried to change our strategy. The players should stick to the tactics. We shall try to avoid the scenario of the Angola match.”
Towards Mauritania, Mali face their neighbours in a much-anticipated West African derby that displays a modern-day David vs Goliath match up.
“The players know what they have been asked to do. I am not worried. Following the first game, we were able to discuss and talk about this. We are representing Mali which is something that is very important. This is what I prepare my players for.”
“We want to reach a balance between offense and defence. Tactically, every team wants to achieve this and we want to make sure that our defense is strong but that also means that we shall try to score goals. We also will avoid conceding.”
The 2 sides final confronted one another in September 2019 within the CHAN 2020 Qualifiers. Within the first leg in Nouakchott, they settled for a goalless draw earlier than Mali defeated Mauritania 2-0 within the return leg in Bamako to progress to the match that was performed in 2021 in Cameroon with Mali reaching the ultimate towards eventual winners Morocco.
“It is not the same team that we shall face tomorrow. We must respect our opponents. Mauritania has changed a lot since then. They have become better organized. I believe that the game tomorrow will be very different.”
In the meantime, Malian defender Ousmane Diallo revealed that the Eagles are eyeing victory of their recreation towards Mauritania.
“We don’t want to go into mathematics. We want to be focused from the start of the game to the end. We want to win the game. We want to achieve this for our fans back home who continue to give us a lot of support.”
“I want to thank the people in Mali who are cheering for us. In this tournament, there are no small teams. We are determined to win, and we know that the opponents are good, but we shall try to win.”
The Mauritania and Mali recreation will probably be performed on the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran on Tuesday, 24 January at 1900hrs GMT.