Friday Sep 04, 2015. 15:22
Benin will host Mali in Cotonou on Sunday, in their second Group C encounter of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Squirrels began their African journey with a 1-1 draw in Equatorial Guinea, while the Eagles kicked their continental campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over South Sudan in Bamako.
Benin’s head coach Omar Tchomogo has received a major boost ahead of the clash, as attacking duo of Rudy Gestede and Frédéric Gounongbé are making their return to the squad.
Bayelsa United full-back Lazadi Fousséni and SM Caen midfielder Jordan Adéoti are also back with the Squirrels, who, however, will have to do without injured Emmanuel Imorou.
Meanwhile, Mali are heading to Cotonou without charismatic skipper Seydou Keita, who has hinted that he is to draw his international career to a close.
Eagles boss Alain Giresse will also be dealing in the absence of Greece-based defender Ousmane Coulibaly and Toulouse midfielder Tongo Hamed Doumbia, while SC Bastia defensive midfielder Drissa Diakité declined his international call-up.
“It is our first game on the road, so it is a different approach compared with our competition opener at home,” Giresse commented.
“It is a very important match. We earned the three points at home, and the objective is to get positive results on the road.”
Benin won just one of their 12 previous battles with the Malians, who recorded 7 wins and 4 draws against the Squirrels.
The game will kick off at Stade de l’Amitié at 17h00 CAT on Sunday 6 September 2015, while South Sudan will host Equatorial Guinea in Juba on Saturday, in the group’s other fixture.