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2022 World Cup Qualifiers

Mali The Favorites Against Unknown Rwanda

Mali will be favorites when they host Rwanda in their 2022 World Cup Group E qualifier at the Grand Stade Agadir, Morocco on Wednesday night, kick-off at 19h00 GMT.

The match will be played in unfamiliar venue as Mali currently doesn’t have a stadium that fulfills the required standards set by the Confederation of African Football and FIFA to host international matches.

Mali boasted six international-standard stadiums, including two in Bamako, when it staged the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations but poor maintenance of the facilities have let them down.

However, the situation at home won’t deter the Eagles who are aiming for their maiden appearance at the global football showpiece.

Mali and Rwanda had differing fortunes for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with the North Africans safely booking their place in Cameroon, while the East African missed out.

The Eagles deputy head coach Fousseyni Diawara expects a tough campaign across all the groups, but has underlined the value of winning matches home matches.

“There are no weak teams that can be neglected. All matches will be important and every point will be crucial,” he told reporters in Bamako.

“In Africa, there are still surprises. We must therefore approach each encounter with the utmost seriousness and the greatest determination to get the win.”

Rwanda coach Vincent Mashami is optimistic his side can defeat Mali, knowing that that’s the only way they can continue their quest for qualification to World’s biggest football showpiece.

“Our objective is to collect maximum points against Mali, then take one match at a time in the group campaign. We are fighting for the pride of our nation, and a winning start would boost our determination in the second match,” Mashami noted.

The other Group E match will see Kenya and Uganda rekindle the rivalry on Thursday at Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi.


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