Boyd Musonda of Zambia during the 2016 Cosafa U20 Youth Championship Final match between South Africa and Zambia ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Wednesday Mar 01, 2017. 09:30
Mali are under pressure to bag their first 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Group A win when they meet host Zambia on Wednesday.
The young Eagles will be gunning to bag the full three points and ensure they are in the running for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in South Korea.
Sitting at the third spot with one point following their opening draw against Egypt on Sunday, the Ba Boye coached side will want nothing but a win.
Their 0-0 draw means Boye will bank on their discipline at the back as they have not conceded, but will have to work on finishing upfront.
“It will be a tough game against Zambia and we need to put in our best. It was important that we carried a point, I am happy with how the boys performed,” said Boye.
“The boys are very skilful, they just had difficulties playing in rain and also getting used to the pitch.”
Coming to the Zambians, Beston Chambeshi will also want a win to consolidate their top spot on the log table.
The hosts began their campaign with a 1-0 over Guinea and are now motivated to make it two wins at home.
Chambeshi and his technical team have received rave reviews from the government and Football Association of Zambia officials, and will now want to return the favours.
A win for the Zambians will mean they have secured a ticket to the youth World Cup in South Korea, although it will not be an easy assignment facing a desperate Mali.
Striker Patson Daka will be expected to find the back of the net as he did against the young Syli Nationale on Sunday at the same venue.
"Overall I am happy that my boys applied themselves well, they looked sharp and especially our goalkeeper our made two important saves,” said Chambeshi.
“In our collective play we were able to show that we have a strong team.
“It is a sweet victory and I am happy that we have started on a good note. We will now focus on our next match.”
The match will be staged at National Heroes Stadium at 18:00.