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Goal.com takes an in depth look at each of the 16 national teams aiming to make their mark on Africa's most popular competition

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching, and the 16 teams that will be aiming to become continental champions have been decided.

The 2013 Afcon takes place from 19 January to February 10, and it is to be held in the 2010 World Cup host nation, South Africa.

History will be written on February 10 at Soccer City in Johannesburg, as the 29th Africa Cup of Nations comes to a climax and a winner is crowned.

Goal.com introduces you to the 16 teams that will be taking part in this highly-anticipated competition. Here we profile The Eagles of Mali.

AFCON HISTORY

Best Performance
Runners-up - 1972
Champions
None
Runners-Up
1972
Third Place
2012
Fourth Place
1994, 2002, 2004

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

The Eagles of Mali qualified for their eighth Africa Cup of Nations by defeating Botswana both home and away. They beat the Zebras 3-0 in Bamako and repeated the dose in Gaborone as they seek to improve upon their third place finish during the last edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

THE COACH | PATRICE CARTERON


Frenchman Patrice Carteron took over from Alain Girese and he has put together a formidable squad made up of veterans such as Seydo Keita and Adama Coulibally, as well as youngsters including Samba Sow of French side Lens and Djoliba's 19-year-old Salif Coulibally.

He is a strict disciplinarian and tactically efficient as he has guided the Malians to a number of victories since taking over. The players respect him, and his coaching philosophy is thus far paying dividends for the Eagles.

THE CAPTAIN | SEYDOU KEITA


Seydou Keita has been the captain of the side since 2010 when Fulham's Mamadou Diara called it quits from international football. The former Lens, Marseille and Barcelona midfielder retired from international football last year, only to bounce back and lead the Eagles to third place at the 2012 Afcon in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Keita, who currently plays in the Chinese league for Dalian Aerbin is a major unifier in the team, as he is highly respected by the players and represents his coach on the pitch.

THE STAR PLAYER | MOUSSA YATABARE


Moussa Yatabare of French Ligue 2 side Guingamp is the star player in the Malian set-up, banging in the goals for the Eagles since switching allegiance from France in 2010.

He is a ferocious attacking player. The 23-year-old, who was born in France and has previously played for the French Under-20 team is the main figure in an attacking quartet which also features Cheick Fantamady Diara of Stade de Rennes and Modibo Maiga of West Ham.

THE EMERGING TALENT | SIDY KONE


Young midfielder Sidy Kone of French giants Olympic Lyonnais has performed very well for the national side since being given a call-up by coach Patrice Cateron, and he has been a dominant figure in the middle of the field for the Eagles.

Kone, 20, has stepped into the shoes of Mamadou Diara with confidence and he has been the main architect pulling the strings in the midfield enforcing role for the Malians. As a good tackler of the ball, Sidy also joins the attack and he is well noted for his piercing passes and exquisite long drives.

PROBABLE LINEUP



(4-3-3)
Samasa
Coulibally, Kante, Tamboura, Diakite
Kone, Diakite, Keita
Yatabare, Maiga, Diara

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