Bamako, Mali – (African Boulevard News) – Two-time champions Mali have booked their place in the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations 2023 after a triumphant 3-0 win over Congo in Annaba on Thursday.
Mali dominated the game from the outset and showed their intent early on with a goal from striker Mamadou Coulibaly in the 21st minute. His teammates launched a series of attacks throughout the first half but Congo’s defence held strong until half-time.
After the break, Mali came back even stronger and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. Midfielder Youssouf Konate struck in the 58th minute, and Mahamane Toure sealed Mali’s win and their place in the semi-finals with a goal in the 85th minute.
Mali’s coach, Moriba Magassouba, praised his team’s performance, saying, “I’m very happy for my boys, they did very well today. We knew Congo was a tough team, but we came prepared and we got the result we wanted.”
The victory also secured Mali’s spot in the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru, which will be held in October of that year. Mali has a strong track record in the tournament, having won the title twice before, in 2015 and 2017.
Magassouba said, “We’re thrilled to have booked our place in the World Cup. Our goal was to win this tournament, and we’re on our way to doing that. We will now focus on the semi-finals and take it one step at a time.”
Mali’s semi-final opponents will be either South Africa or Ghana, who will face off in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
The TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations 2023 has been a showcase of talent and skill, with 12 teams competing for the title. The tournament has produced some standout performances, including a stunning 9-0 win for Cameroon over Niger in the group stage.
Football fans around the continent are eagerly watching the tournament, and the semi-finals promise to be a thrilling showcase of African football at its best.