Mali’s Eagles

Mali have emerged in the last two decades as a force to be reckoned with in African football.  The Eagles have been to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals on five occasions since 1994 but have not been able to play for the trophy in the final match.  Indeed, the last time the Malians reached the final was way back in 1972 when they were silver medallists.

Henryk Kasperczak will hope to have the winning formula in Equatorial Guinea.  The West Africans reached the tournament after finishing second in qualifying Group B behind Algeria and in front of Malawi and Ethiopia.  Kasperczak will call on the experienced Seydou Keita to pull the strings from midfield.  The Malians were dealt a blow when 26-year old Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabate was ruled out on the eve of the tournament requiring a knee operation.

Mali have not been handed an easy task at the 2015 AFCON.  If they are to progress to the knockout stages, they will have to navigate their way past perennial powerhouses Ivory Coast and Cameroon, as well as Guinea.

Prediction: Group Stage exit