Mali is out to settle old scores with Zimbabwe when the two sides clash in a Chan quarter-final match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday
O. Kone, M. Sidibe, O. Keita, I. Samake
S. Konate, I. Traore, C Doumbia, I. Sidibe, A. Sissoko, Y. Samake
E. Chipeta, M. Ncube, P Jaure (cpt), H, Zvirekwi
D. Phiri, P. Moyo, M. Mambare, K. Mahachi
S. Sithole (Dynamos), S. Sithole (How Mine)
The West Africans boast only one win over Zimbabwe who have prevailed over them twice. The other match ended in a draw. With their past collisions all being in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, their growing rivalry has now spilled into neutral territory in this Chan tournament which is exclusively for home-based players.
Since their last meeting in June 2011 in Harare, Zimbabwe could still feel at home in neighbouring South Africa where they have so far enjoyed strong backing from multitudes of their citizens based in Cape Town.
“We are feeling at home here because the support we had been getting is tremendous,” said Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa.
But underlining the two sides’ campaign is their quest to soothe their success-starved fans who have never celebrated continental glory with their teams.
“As I have always stated, we wanted to do better than the previous editions and we are on course to achieve more. Mali are a good side and we respect them but we hope for the best,” Gorowa said.
Zimbabwe’s forwards are failing to come to the party and have to rely on midfielders for goals. The front runners Simba Sithole (Dynamos), Simba Sithole (How Mine), Nelson Maziwisa and Donald Ngoma have all been given a run, but continued to fire blanks in the three group matches.
“I have been talking to the strikers and they know what is expected from them. But we do not want to give them much pressure. The midfielders are creating chances, but we are failing to finish. It is something we can improve on,” said Gorowa.
Zimbabwe midfielder Charles Sibanda has been ruled out of the match with an ankle injury. Unlike Gorowa bemoaning blunt forwards, returning Mali coach Henryk Kasperczak could be comfortable in having chief striker Ibourahima Sidibe who has scored two of their five goals.
Mali have lost defensive stalwart Mahamadou Traoré who has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament following a crack in his left fibula.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Mali are coming from Group B where the highest number of goals came (22) while Zimbabwe are from Group B which had the least goals (10).
- Only Group B had winners failing to reach at least seven points.
- Zimbabwe are the only quarter-finalist that are yet to concede a goal in this tournament. They are also the only in the last eight who have scored the least number of goals as they have only one goal.
- Just like in the inaugural edition in 2009, no country managed a 100% record in the group stages this time around.
- This is the first time for Zimbabwe and Mali to make it past the group stages in the Chan tournament.