Members of the Mali national team sent a signed jersey to former South African president Nelson Mandela ahead of their clash against Nigeria in Wednesday’s semi final game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Durban.
The Malians eliminated the hosts from the competition via penalties last Saturday.
Coach Patrice Carteron told the media at the end of the team’s press conference that the gesture was to honour the ailing Mandela who is unable to receive visitors.
The entire team signed captain Seydou Keita’s number 12 jersey and sent it to the ailing leader.
Earlier, Carteron had spoken about the game between the two West African sides saying he anticipates a very physical game.
He stated that having eliminated favourites Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria are now one of the favourites for the trophy. “This will put pressure on them in tomorrow’s game,” Carteron said.
Mali have not defeated Nigeria in their last three meetings at the Afcon. They lost the third place matches of both 2002 and 2004 but drew in the group stage at Ghana 2008.