Mali, Burundi battle for top spot in Bamako

Mali, Burundi battle for top spot in Bamako
Moussa Marega of Mali

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 11, 2018. 14:10

Mali will be aiming to build on their unblemished record when they play host to Burundi in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 21h00 CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Eagles currently occupy top spot in Group C following two wins from two matches. Mali followed a 2-1 win at home to Gabon with a 3-0 thumping of South Sudan in Juba last month, and will be eyeing a third successive victory in the Malian capital.

Mali head coach Mohammed Magassouba has handed maiden national call-ups to Cheick Oumar Doucoure and Alimani Gory for their back-to-back games against Burundi.

There is still no place for captain Yacouba Sylla who has struggled for game time in Belgium, while West Brom's Bakary Sako was also not summoned.

Mali boast an exciting squad with the likes of Amadou Haidara,Yves Bissouma and Moussa Marega in their ranks. Haidara has especially caught the eye for Red Bull Salzburg and has been tipped for a bright future.

Burundi currently occupy second spot in the group with a 3-0 win over South Sudan followed by a 1-1 draw against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Gabon in Libreville.

Stoke City's Saido Berahino found the back of the net for the Swallows in Gabon and he will be hoping to build on that goal in back-back games against the more fancied Eagles.

The reverse fixture at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura will take place on Tuesday.

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