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Mali qualify to the finals following a 3-2 aggregate win over Guinea after surviving in the return leg in Conakry where they lost 1-0 under the helm of coach Djibril Drame.
And Mali return to the CAF African Nations Championship for second successive time after making a forgettable debut in Sudan in 2011.
Their first outing was a major failure after picking up just one point and scoring one goal to exit the competition bottom of Group C.
Mali will be disappointed with their quarterfinal exit at the hands of Zimbabwe at the 2014 African Nations Championship having breezed through the pool phase and looked like title contenders.
The west Africans had power and skill in abundance, and a number of their players will have enhanced their reputation despite the Last 8 exit.
The group stages was a breeze, they defeated fancied Nigeria 2-1 in the first match as they outclassed a very good Super Eagles unit.
They then showed character to come from behind and draw 1-1 with hosts South Africa, a game that with a little more luck they might have won comfortably.
Perhaps their most sluggish performance came in a 2-1 victory over Mozambique where they needed a late penalty to secure the three points.
That meant they finished top of the pool instead of runners up and set-up a meeting with the second team in Group B, Zimbabwe.
They found their opponents in formidable form and could only manage a later consolation to go tumbling from a competition that promised much.
|2018 CHAN QUALIFIERS TEAM RECORD|
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|LAST 10 AWAY:|