Mali coach reacts to Ghana win at U-17 World Cup

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Jonas Komla talks about masterminding the Eagles' qualification to the last four of the world youth championship

Mali coach Jonas Kokou Komla says familiarity with rainy conditions aided their victory over Ghana in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Fifa Under-17 World Cup in India on Saturday.

On a waterlogged pitch due to heavy rains, Hadji Drame and Djemoussa Traore netted to hand the Eagles a 2-1 win at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.

Kudus Mohammed fetched Ghana's consolation from the spot.

"I really congratulate Ghana for a very good match - they were one of our best opponents," Komla said.

"We played our best in conditions in which it was raining. We tried to master the conditions and the team that committed the minimum fouls won the match.

"Our players are well conditioned for these conditions - when we played in difficult countries, we trained in the rain and we modified our strategy and we also tried that our mind remains on our head.

"We habituated that kind of weather in Ethiopia where we played in very similar conditions."

It was the third meeting between Mali and Ghana in 2017.

The Eagles beat the Black Starlets 1-0 in the final of the African championship in May before another win (2-1) in a pre-World Cup friendly last month.

"We knew Ghana players go for long shots, so we adapted to this condition and their style," Komla added.

"Whatever the situation, you have to play the real game and not get deviated.

"We didn’t have any proper strategies in our mind in the match - we watched some videos and the match they played vs Niger. 

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"We watched the video and how they played the long balls and accordingly, we suggested [solutions] to our players."

Mali await the winner of Sunday's clash between Spain and Iran for a date in the semifinals on Wednesday.


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