'We must settle the score with Mali'

Fikile Mbalula says the tears of South Africans must be wiped for good against Mali.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula during a press conference at the Sandton Sun Hotel on 31 January 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - On the eve of their Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says Bafana have a score to settle with Mali.

The teams clash tomorrow evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium with a spot in the semifinals up for grabs.

Mbalula says Bafana need to set the record straight.

"We have got a score to settle with Mali. Seydou Keita launched himself to be a football star by beating us in the last tournament."

Mbalula said it was time to wipe the tears of South Africans "once and for all for what they did to us."


Mali captain Seydou Keita believes his side will once again beat Bafana.

Mali booked their date with Bafana by finishing as Group B runners-up with a 1-1 draw with Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday night.

Keita, who spoke through a translator, said history will repeat itself.

"We're positive that we'll play well. We know they'll have home ground advantage, but we won't make it easy for them."


Meanwhile, Bafana coach Gordon Igesund said his side was studying Mali and would be ready for them.

Mali booked a date with Bafana following their 1-1 draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday night, while Bafana drew 2-2 against Morocco to make the quarterfinals.

Igesund said his players know they will face a tough and physical battle with the West Africans.

"All 11 of them are tall players but we will cope with that. We have to use the ball well and keep it on the ground. We have to get behind them and start putting them under pressure."

Igesund said he knows a lot about Mali's strategies and tactics, which will count in Bafana's favour.

"They play a 4-1-4-1 formation and they like to get the ball upfront to the big guy. He's very useful and he brings the midfield players into play, but we'll deal with that."

Kickoff is at 20:30 on Saturday night.