Avram Grant's men picked up a 1-0 win over Uganda in their opener, but the team have, nonetheless, been vilified for a poor second half performance.
“The team need to up their game; the performance against Uganda was not so much convincing," Kingston told GhOne TV.
"They [Black Stars] played well in the first half but they allowed the Ugandans to take over in the second half.
“I believe if there was enough time, the Ugandans could have equalized because they were pressing us a lot.
“Now we will face a tougher side which is Mali and it is not going to be easy; I just hope they up their game against Mali.
“Of course they always say we are slow starters, so let’s wait and see how the team will perform against Mali in their next game.”
Although Ghana and Mali did not cross paths at the last Afcon in 2015, the two sides have four meetings in the preceding two events.
The Black Stars won two of those matches - all group stage games - while the Eagles emerged victorious in the other two, which were third-place playoff fixtures.
Saturday's meeting will be at Stade de Port-Gentil in Gabon.
Kingston represented Ghana at the 2006 and 2008 Afcons.
N.B: Goal.com are having a live screening of the Afcon match (Ghanv Mali) tomorrow at the Accra Mall Silverbird Cinema with plenty of giveaways.