It was the first time in his career that Jali wore the armband. South Africa won the encounter 3-0.
The clash was part of preparations for the CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations tournament which starts on Saturday, 17 January with the final scheduled for Sunday, 8 February in Equatorial Guinea.
Jali has represented Bafana Bafana on 23 occasions.
He only missed one match – a friendly against Zambia at the beginning of this year due to a knee injury.
Jali spoke SAFA Media after the Mali victory:
Q: How did you feel when selected captain for the clash against Mali?
A: It was a huge surprise for me but I said I will don the armband because the coach chose me amongst 23 players in the squad to lead the country. It was a great honour for me to captain my country for the first time ever – in fact to be captain in any match. What makes me happier is that the results were positive.
Q: The armband in the team keeps on rotating – Dean, Anele and yourself now.
A: In this team we are all the same, the only difference is that only one person has the armband but we are all on the same level. We are all leaders on the field which makes the job of the captain of the day much easier.
Q: What is the difference with this squad that is bringing positive results?
A: We are all friends in this team; that is the difference with the Bafana Bafana of then and now. We treat each other in the same way – no one is better than the others, just that only 11 can start which makes us all hungry to play.
Q: There is a lot of confidence in this team when approaching games, why is that?
A: The coach is never worried about the opposition but about us and that is a huge difference in this team. We never concern ourselves with who we are going to play and the coach has instilled that in us and that is why we go into the field with a lot of confidence, because of our abilities not what the opposition can offer.
Q: You played CAF Champions League with Orlando Pirates and went all the way to the final. How much is that experience helping you now in the national team especially ahead of AFCON?
A: The CAF Club competition with Orlando Pirates has helped most of us a great deal. But even before then some of us were involved in the junior national teams and we gained a lot of experience which today we are able to use at senior level. And because of that we know what to expect. The experience of our coaching staff is also vital as they are helping us prepare well.
Q: What does the team need to do to get positive results in the tournament?
A: We cannot afford to change the way we played during the qualifiers. We have to continue with that for us to get positive results. If we try to change things we might be in trouble, like I said we should not worry about the opposition but about ourselves. We are here because of the way we played in the qualifiers and we should continue on that path.
Q: How different is your role in Belgium and in the national team?
A: Even though I play the same position in Belgium, I don’t move a lot, I never go past the centre. I am a real holding midfielder. But in South Africa I am very mobile with a lot of freedom to even go for goal. I enjoy both systems though. At Bafana Bafana I play the same way I used to play at Orlando Pirates.
Q: Do you think you can use this tournament to get a deal elsewhere and move from Belgium?
A: I am not worried about selling myself in this tournament because I am very happy where I am playing. We are all here to do a job for our country.
Q: Bafana Bafana defeated Mali 3-0, does that mean the team is ready for AFCON?
A: After the match with Mali I can safely say we are ready for the tournament. The way we played today showed that we can hold our own against the big guns. The conditions were difficult out there but we still managed to get a great win and that augurs well for the tournament as we know what to expect.
Q: You played three different oppositions in the preparations, did they help?
A: The three oppositions we played in the preparations will help a great deal in that the three teams in the competition also play different styles, so for me this was ideal preparation and we could not have asked for more. I believe Cameroon and Algeria play the same attacking game, so that Cameroon match was a masterstroke for us to play in preparation for our opening match against the North Africans.
Q: How important is that first game in the tournament?
A: The first game in any tournament is very important – you go there to win, a draw should be the worst result but just don’t lose it because it sets the tone for the tournament. If you lose the first one you will be playing under pressure in the remaining two. We do well in the first one, then we are on our way to better things.
Q: South Africa has long been seen as flops in international football….
A: We are not here to prove a point, just to show that South Africa can also play and has a lot of talent. We go there with confidence that we will be successful and we are very positive.
Born: 10 April, 1990
Club: KV Oostende (Belgium)
National team debut: v Zimbabwe, friendly international, 27 January, 2010
Last game played: v Mali, friendly international, 14 January, 2015
First goal scored: v Niger, African Nations Cup qualifier, 4 September 2011
Caps per club: Orlando Pirates 14, KV Oostende (Belgium) 9
Midfielder who joined Orlando Pirates from University of Pretoria ahead of the 2009/10 season … helped AmaTuks to the final of the 2009 Nedbank Cup … is a South African Under-20 international ... scored against Honduras at the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and was later sent-off in that game … won the ‘Treble’ with Pirates in the 2010/11 season, including the League title … transferred to KV Oostende in Belgium in January 2014 … born in Matatiele.
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