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Preview: Tunisia vs. Mali

Group F starts off Wednesday’s games at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations when top teams Tunisia and Mali square off. Tunisia is coming off an excellent 2021 FIFA Arab Cup performance that saw the Carthage Eagles reach the final before bowing out to Algeria, and will be at peak confidence as they start off their campaign in Africa’s showcase competition. Mali were one of a handful of teams to make it through the recently completed group stage of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, where they breezed through to top a weak group featuring Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

Similarly to the Nigeria-Egypt clash from yesterday, both teams are heavy favorites to advance out of Group F but the early matchup is being seen by supporters as a good test to see if their team can lock up first place in the group. Tunisia and manager Mondher Kebaier will be looking to keep the match under control with a patient approach to keep Mali’s individual stars from operating with too much space. Kebaier will not have wing back Mohamed Dräger to call upon, but it appears that Youssef Msakni and Hannibal Mejbri will be ready with the team stating they expect them to be recovered from Covid-19. Either way, European-based reinforcements like Ligue 1 playmaker Wahbi Khazri will add plenty of quality following their arrivals.

Malian supporters are also eager to see how their Eagles matchup with the Carthage Eagles as the Malian side were not challenged by their aforementioned World Cup qualifying opponents. Manager Mohamed Magassouba has a full team to call upon with no reported absences due to Covid-19. Magassouba emphasized that the youth on his team will be an asset for Les Aigles, who have only three players aged 30 or older. Mali’s central defenders will be interesting to watch because that is where their inexperience is most evident, but this competition could be when young talents like Kiki Kouyaté or Standard Liège’s Moussa Sissako prove themselves.

Check out the articles below for more on Wednesday’s clash. SuperSport has a general preview in the first link below followed by sources from both countries.

Tunisia and Mali lock horns in group F opener (SuperSport)

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