The OS Palanquinhas of Angola face an acid test against cup holders, Les Aiglonnets of Mali in a decisive Group B fixture of the Total Africa Cup of Nations at the Stade de L’Amitie in Libreville on Sunday.
The Angolans have only bagged one point in two matches following 2-2 draw with Niger and a mental-draining 2-1 loss to The Serengeti Boys of Tanzania and would expectedly meet the battle-hardened West Africans who are jointly on top of the section with Tanzania on four points.
It is true that we have four points but nothing has been achieved yet, Mali U-17 trainer, Komla Jonas stated as a matter of fact. For us to go to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, it is necessary to give everything against Angola on Sunday.
This would only be the second time both would meet at the U-17 AFCON but the Malians can treasure their 2-1 win over the Angolans at the 1999 edition held in Guinea.
But Jonas admitted the preliminary Group B section could end on a dramatic note should Niger and Angola pull off their chestnut from the fire by winning their respective last matches.
All the eight teams at this champion look very good and we will not underestimate the Angolan team, we e take every game seriously. he noted.
In the other Group B game on Sunday, Niger face Tanzania at Stade de Port Gentil.
PRE- MATCH QUOTES
Komla Jonas (Head coach, Mali)
It is true that we have 4 points but nothing has been achieved yet. To go to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, it is necessary to give everything against Angola on Sunday.
We are going to correct some gaps before we meet Angola on Sunday. We met two teams in two previous matches and the Tanzanian team caused us a lot of problems especially on the defensive during the first match. Niger has strong players and they can become a great team. This tournament can be a springboard for them because their country will host the next U-20 Championship. At our level, we are working on the mental state to feel at ease. We insist on individual quality for the benefit of the team but we will not underrate Angola.
Abdoul Salam Djiddou (Mali Midfielder)
The coach has described every game as a final. It is normal that all the three games be regarded as finals for us and we love playing in such games. We have already forgotten the match against Niger. We will give everything to qualify for the U-17 World Cup in Sunday’s match against Angola. We do not want to talk too much before the game. We will see what happens on Sunday.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)