Tunisia and Mali will battle for a place in the final four of the 2016 African Nations Championship when they meet at Stade Regional Nyamirambo in Kigali on Sunday, kick-off at 15h00 CAT.
Tunisia booked their place in the quarterfinals in stunning style, crushing Niger 5-0 in their final Group C match to end top of the log.
Their first two results were draws against Guinea (2-2) and Nigeria (1-1), leaving them in danger of falling out of the tournament. However, their rout of Mena sees them head into the knockout stage full of confidence and with momentum very much on their side.
Carthage Eagles coach Hatem Missaoui believes their steady improvement through the group stage will have prepared them for the challenges that lie ahead in the quarterfinals.
“Having managed two draws in our opening matches, we were desperate for a win [against Niger] which came in style and acted as a great motivator as we prepare for a tough quarterfinal stage, where you only have 90 minutes to get results and there will be no room for complacency,” Missaoui told SuperSport.
Mali, meanwhile, finished second in Group D and boast an unbeaten record, with draws against Uganda and table-toppers Zambia sandwiching a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe.
The Eagles will be hoping to go one stage further than their bet appearance in a CHAN tournament, which was reaching the last eight in the previous edition in 2014, while Tunisia will aim to take another step toward their second title in the competition’s history, having claimed the trophy in 2011.
Mali and Tunisia have met in seven previous matches according to FIFA statistics, with the North Africans claiming four wins compared to their opponent’s three. The teams last met in a friendly in Monastir in 2011 which was won 4-2 by the Carthage Eagles, while their only meeting in the finals of a continental tournament saw the West Africans win 2-0 in Rades in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.
The winners will face Ivory Coast in the second semifinal in Kigali on Thursday.