Mali drop shootout star Diakite

accreditation
Soumaila Diakite (AP)
Soumaila Diakite (AP)
Durban - Mali have dropped penalty shootout star Soumaila Diakite for Wednesday's Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Nigeria here at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Mali coach Patrice Carteron said France-based goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa will start ahead of the more experienced Diakite, from Bamako club Stade Malien, who saved two penalties in the quarter-final triumph over South Africa.

Guingamp goalkeeper Samassa missed the South Africa game last Saturday because of a one-match ban after picking up two bookings in the group stage.

Carteron has praised Samassa, 22, who represented France in age-group sides, but opted for Mali at full international level, making his debut last October.

Mali are hoping to beat Nigeria and qualify for only their second Africa Cup final after losing 3-2 to Congo Brazzaville in Yaounde 41 years ago.

"We will play to win," vowed Carteron.

"We will attack because we want to win without going to penalties.

"Nigeria are favourites, but we aim to beat them. The pressure is on them - we are not under pressure because we are not the favourites."

Former Lyon defender Carteron believes his team must impose themselves physically to reach the final.

"The teams are similar physically and the team who wins the physical battle will win the match," he predicted.

Skipper Seydou Keita wants to improve on the showing at the 2012 tournament in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea, where they went out to Ivory Coast at the semi-finals stage.

"It will be a tough game but we want to win it. This will be our second straight semi-final and we want to go further.

"I have not won a trophy with Mali, but we have a chance now and we hope we can do it."

The Malian squad have given former South African president Nelson Mandela a signed shirt of skipper Keita.

Carteron said they would love to meet Mandela, but this was not possible so they decided to send him a No 12 shirt of Keita signed by the entire squad.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
40% - 15084 votes
Cricket
12% - 4664 votes
Football
19% - 7066 votes
Athletics
3% - 989 votes
Boxing
1% - 374 votes
Cycling
2% - 907 votes
Golf
5% - 1915 votes
Motorsport
9% - 3267 votes
Tennis
4% - 1358 votes
Water sports
1% - 345 votes
American sports
1% - 470 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 1263 votes
Vote