Mali, Rwanda eye maiden World Cup qualification

football31 August 2021 16:01| © Backpage TXT
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Moussa Djenepo © Getty Images

Rwanda and Mali will meet in a CAF second round 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying match at Stade d'Agadir in Morocco on Wednesday.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The match will take place in Agadir as Mali don't currently have a stadium that fulfills the required standards to host international matches.

Mali are considered slight favourites to advance onto the third round of qualifying in a group which also includes Uganda and Kenya. 

Les Aigles have been consistently good over the last two decades but have surprisingly never qualified for a senior men's World Cup tournament.

Mohamed Magassouba has the difficult task of picking a team from a strong contingent of players that ply their trade across Europe and beyond, but Yves Bissouma and Moussa Marega's absence comes as a blow.

Moussa Djenepo is included, as is highly-rated midfielder Aliou Dieng and Amadou Haidara.

Rwanda made easy work of the Seychelles (10-0 on aggregate) to book their place in the second round of qualifying for Qatar and like Mali set their sights on appearing at the showpiece for the very first time.

"We have big ambitions for this game, and the players are committed and hungry to win. We are ready to give all we have. That's our goal," Amavubi head coach Vincent Mashami said ahead of his team's Group E match against Mali in midweek. 

"Our primary objective is to bag maximum points against Mali, then take it one match at a time in the group campaign. We are fighting for the pride of our nation, and a winning start would boost our determination in the second match," Mashami added.

This will be the first match between the two nations since meeting in back-to-back qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

Mali won 2-1 in Kigali before a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture hosted in Bamako.