FRANCEVILLE – Mali and Guinea are set to reignite their fierce rivalry when the two West African sides take to the field today evening at the Estadio de Franceville.
Funnily enough, despite the two countries being neighbours, the two sides havent taken to the field against each other since the 2004 Nations Cup quarterfinals in which Mali won 2-1.
Mali made an impact on the 2010 Nations Cup tournament when they fought back from being four goals down against Angola to muster up a 4-4 draw.
Since then the country has hired Alain Giresse as coach and he has since helped to restructure the side, building it around Barcelona star Seydou Keita.
However, it wont be all plain sailing for the Eagles, as they will be without influential midfielder Mahamadou Diarra of Monaco, while Ousmane Berthe and Souleymane Keita are replacements for Kalilou Traore and Mohamed Fofana, as the latter duo were forced to miss out due to injury.
The Eagles have voiced their determination to do well and rid themselves of the memory of their early elimination in the previous tournament.
As for Guinea, they come into the game still carrying the confidence that they stopped the African giants of Nigeria from qualifying.
The Syli Nationale will be out to get as many points as possible, as they aim to mimic their results in 2004 and 2008 in which they qualified for the last eight.
For coach Michel Dussuyer anything short of a quarterfinal has been voiced as failure and they will be looking to their influential midfielder Pascal Feindouno and striker Ismael Bangoura to bring the magic on the field.
Guinea have been forced to make do without Kevin Constant, as the Genoa player decided to pull out for reasons that have not been made entirely clear.
The match in Franceville is set to kick-off at 21:00, and will be the second match of the Group D double header at the stadium.