Afcon 2019: Our initial goal has already been achieved- Angola coach Vasiljevic

Bruno Gaspar Angola
Getty Images
The Palancas Negras’ coach is modest about his side's expectations going into their final group game against Mali

Angola coach Srdjan Vasiljevic has said he will be glad to see his team progress to the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The Serbian, however, insists that qualification for the tournament in Egypt was the main goal for his team and that goal has been achieved.

Angola missed out on back-to-back Afcon editions in 2015 and 2017 but they were able to make the cut with the extended 24-team format this time around.

Vasiljevic's men have battled to two draws so far -  against Tunisia and Mauritania - but in Tuesday's clash with Mali, Palancas Negras have to do more as they need an outright win to aid their qualification for the knockout phase.

Coach Vasiljevic has promised his team will give their against the Mali Eagles but maintains the original mission of qualifying was his team's main aim.

Vasiljevic-Angola Coach PS

"I reiterate that our initial goal has already been achieved from the time we qualified for this championship," he told the media in Egypt.

"Let's play our game with dedication and determination, and if the opponent lets us play, let's do it, and look for the win that all the team seeks.

"The goal was to qualify the team for the Cup of Nations and then Qatar, so our work does not stop here."

Angola are winless in their last seven Afcon games, their longest drought since January 1996.

Article continues below

Mali, meanwhile, sit top of Group E with four points from their two matches, having thrashed debutants Mauritania 4-1 before drawing 1-1 with Tunisia on Friday.

Six of Mali's last eight games in Afcon have ended with the scores level and they have kept a clean sheet only once in their last 13 Afcon games.