(Sporting Alert) — Ghana and Mali would rather be playing in the championship game on Sunday, but both nations will also be taking their Africa Cup of Nations third place play-off game seriously.
Streaming Coverage: Watch Ghana v Mali Live on ESPN3.com
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth
Date: Saturday 9 February
Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Coverage: Live TV coverage on Eurosport and ITV
Both teams qualified from Group B, with Ghana winning the zone and will now meet for the fourth time in the last two tournaments.
Ghana were beaten on penalty kicks by Burkina Faso in their semi-finals, while Mali were hammered 4-1 by Nigeria, with Uwa Elderson Echiejile, Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa all hitting the net.
They were both disappointed at not making the Africa Cup of Nations final, but have already moved past that stage and are now looking forward to Saturday’s game.
Mali has had a dream run in the tournament and coach Patrice Carteron said: “It’s an important game for us because it’s really hard to finish in third place.
“Most of the big nations – Ivory Coast, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia – didn’t [manage] it.
“So we have to appreciate having been in the semi-final, and we have to focus on this game against Ghana.
“Of course the players were disappointed but now they have to be realistic and realise it’s a good thing to play this game and try to become the third place [team] for the second year [running].”
Meanwhile, Ghana experienced defender John Pantsil, who is doubtful for the contest, is looking to leave South Africa with a medal.
“Third place is equally good, that’s the medal zone,” said Pantsil.
“Playing against Mali and getting that medal I think will be very, very good for the team.
“[It will] also boost the young players and get them on their feet for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
“We are here to compete and we want to be in the medals, so we have to go all out and play well and get a win to prove we are a good side.”