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Mali, Gabon set for Bamako thriller

By Editor
12 November 2016   |   1:59 am
Mali will look to bounce back against Gabon as they want to return to winning ways in their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier today at Stade 26 Mars in Bamako.

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Mali will look to bounce back against Gabon as they want to return to winning ways in their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier today at Stade 26 Mars in Bamako.

Kick-off is at 8:30pm.

The Eagles will be hoping to reach the world cup stage for the first time and beating Gabon at home will boost their chances.

Coach Alain Giresse has to motivate his charges as he now wants to see a positive response following their 3-1 demolition by reigning African champions, Ivory Coast.

The 3-1 loss away in Abidjan means the hosts will pull out all the stops to ensure they get their campaign back on track and move up the log table.

Mali currently sit at the bottom of Group C with zero points and one goal, in a tough group with Morocco, Gabon and the Elephants.

Before their loss to the Ivorians, Mali beat Benin 5-2 as well as well claiming a convincing win over South Sudan during the road to the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

“I don’t want to put a percentage on it, but we’ll be giving it all we’ve got. I know every match will be tough and that we won’t be favourites,” said Giresse.

“I know Gabon well, even if the team has changed a lot, and we’ll be fighting hard to try and top the group. Mali are going through a transitional phase.

“We’ve got some experienced players, some youngsters, and a few others who are coming through. That’s pretty much Mali for you. We’re not up there yet with Ivory Coast, Nigeria and the other big teams in Africa.”

Coming to the visiting Panthers, Gabon will also want a victory following their disappointing 0-0 draw against Morocco last month.

However, playing Mali away presents a tough challenge for the visiting side as they have a new coach.
Jorge Costa was given the boot in the past week and the association has since appointed Jose Antonio Garrido, who had previously been the technical director of the federation.

Sitting at No 2 on the standings means they will challenge for the top spot and will look to remove the Elephants today.

Gabon will also be motivated by the fact that they are hosting next year’s Afcon which means they will have to qualify for their first World Cup tournament in Russia.

The Panthers have lost two of their previous friendlies to Cameroon and Sudan before playing to a stalemate against the Moroccans.

Culled from Supersport.com