Mali ‘s top players are certain they will defeat Tunisia on Tuesday to qualify for the 2022 World Cup despite their first-leg defeat in Bamako.
The Eagles suffered a 1-0 defeat in the first-leg which was played on Friday after an own goal by Mali defender Moussa Sissako, who was the unfortunate villain for the home side.
Sissako, who plays for Belgian top-flight side Standard Liege, inadvertently put the ball into his own net in the 36th minute before he was sent off moments later.
The Carthage Eagles have the home advantage going into the return encounter on Tuesday as they host the second-leg in Rades but Mali top players are confident they can turn things in their favour.
“We are disappointed with the result but it’s only the first leg,” said captain Hamari Traoré, who was suspended in the first-leg of the two-legged affair.
“The players got their jerseys wet, we weren’t able to take advantage of our opportunities”, admitted the Malian defender who firmly believes in his team’s chances of reversing the result.
“I’m going to take this opportunity to congratulate the public who came out en masse, it’s just a false start and I hope the public will continue to support us,” added the Eagles’ right-back.
“We have the means and the will to do it, to succeed in this historic qualification”, insisted Traoré.
Silent on Friday against Tunisia, striker Ibrahima Koné, who scored three goals at the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations last month, also keeps the faith of seeing his team qualify for the World Cup.
The new striker of French side Lorient also wanted to praise the Malian fans for coming out in numbers and “for these supporters, we will play for the qualification to the World Cup” in Tunisia.
Defender Kiki Kouyaté echoed the desire of his team-mates and himself to rectify this misstep in the first leg.
“We must continue to believe in it,” he insisted.