Igesund backs Mali for title

2013-02-06 15:20

Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund is backing Mali to win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations because of the intelligent football they play, as well as the conflict they’re experiencing.

Since early January the northern part of Mali has been involved in a war with Islamic extremists. Since then the French army has joined the Mali government to combat the rebels. The Mali players participating at the Afcon have said they are competing at the tournament to give their countrymen hope.

Mali captain Seydou Keita said he would even pay his team-mates amid a lack of finances.

Igesund believes the West Africa country needs their players to be victorious to give them a sense of pride during their time of conflict.

“For players burdened by the thought that their country is threatened by civil war, it would be hailed worldwide as a dramatic sentimental triumph,” said Igesund.

“And ... I am impressed by the thoughtful, calculated style of soccer employed in the team by French coach Patrice Carteron, something I learnt from bitter experience in our nail-biting defeat,” he said of the quarter-final clash against Mali who beat Bafana in a penalty shoot-out.

The scores were level after 120 minutes, Tokelo Rantie scored for the hosts while Keita equalised for Mali, who won 3-1 via the shoot-out.

They take on Nigeria at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, kickoff is at 5pm.

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