Mali defender Hamari Traore has said that he is confident that the Eagles can perform beyond expectations at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, despite not being rated by many.
Ahead of Mali’s opening Group E game against Mauritania on Monday, the Stade Rennais right-back told his club website that they are rated as underdogs at the 2019 Afcon finals, but the team have enough quality to go far in Egypt.
“Yes we are underdogs, but we have a good card to play with,” Traore said.
“We will try and have a proper campaign. Our objective is to progress as far as possible.
“If we stay humble, we could have a chance to create something big at the competition. In 2015 and 2017, we did not perform very well.
“ In 2019, we are eager to raise Mali colours.”
Aside from their group opener against debutants Mauritania, Mali will also be squaring up against Tunisia and Angola in Group E as they look to pick up one of the Round of 16 tickets.
Traore has advised his Mali teammates to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task ahead of them.
“We have a new generation of players that keeps improving," the Mali defender concluded.
“We need to work together as a group of friends in order to progress.”