Keita the key to success – Mali coach

2013-02-04 17:17

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Mali believe winning the Africa Cup of Nations is within their reach.

The Eagles take on the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a West African semifinal clash on Wednesday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and coach Patrice Carteron is confident of going all the way to the final.

Mali finished third at last year’s tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and Carteron says they want to go the extra mile.

He, however, regarded Nigeria as a tough opponent and said his team would have to be at its best.

He also conceded that Mali had been lucky against South Africa but said “sometimes you need luck in football”.

“I am going to give my best and the team is going to give more than 100% to try and win the game. We don’t have to dream but we have to be realistic and be ready for the game.

“We know Nigeria is better than us but in football anything can happen. These players want to make history by becoming the first team to win the tournament since 1972. We are going to fight like we never did before,” said Carteron.

He singled out his 32-year-old captain Seydou Keita as the key player for Wednesday’s match. Keita scored his second goal of the tournament when he equalised for Mali in the game against Bafana on Saturday night.

Carteron said Keita is a true professional who looks after himself very well off the field.

“We know the Chinese league is not strong so he went to train with Barcelona after his season is over and he works hard and is fit. I am sure he is going to be as good as he has been throughout the tournament.”

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