The debutants really gave a good account of themselves to hold the highly rated Malians in their first ever game at this level. Goalkeeper Ramadhani Awam was superb in post as the Serengeti Boys snatched a vital point.
Mali were slightly ahead possession-wise but failed to turn their dominance into goals during the match of few chances. Captain Mohamed Camara inspired his team from the middle but they still lacked the cutting edge upfront.
Debutants Tanzania will face Angola in the other Group A match also at the same venue.
Bakari Nyundo Shime (Head Coach, Tanzania)
We are here for the tournament to challenge the champions Mali. It has been a valuable point collected. I congratulate my players for the job well accomplished. It was a big lesson for my players. We are here to compete. However, I admit we played against a team with quality. My players struggled in the first half but we made some changes in the set up and were stabilized in the second half. The shape of the team was changed as we moved forward in the second half.
Jonas Kokou Komla (Head Coach, Mali)
Nothing has been lost following the result against Tanzania who had a very good defence. However, the result reflects the kind of preparations we had before coming to Gabon. Forty (40) days of training were not enough and we also missed five high profile build up matches. I will ask my players to play and improve in the next matches. We came here with ambitions and one of them is to qualify for the World Cup, and the other is play till the end of the tournament.