The Mali vs Bafana Bafana fixture on Tuesday night will see both sides open their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against each other. The action will unfold at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Ivory Coast.
The Eagles of Mali will be making their 13th appearance at Africa's top-most football festival and their ninth in succession, while for the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, it will be their 11th time and first since 2019.
The Malians have twice delivered a knockout blow to South Africa in the AFCON but none of the current squad members were involved in those games.
While Mali head into this match as favourites with a much better squad, the South African side are no pushovers as they boast of players who really know themselves after playing together for years in the domestic top-flight.
With two wins and one draw in their last three matches against Mali, Bafana Bafana will look to continue their impressive record against the West Africans.
Mali AFCON 2023 squad
Goalkeepers: Djigui Diarra, Aboubacar Doumbia, Ismael Diawarra.
Defenders: Hamari Traore, Falate Sacko, Boubacar Kouyate, Sikou Niakate, Moussa Diarra, Amadou Dante.
Midfielders: Diadei Samassekou, Mohamed Camara, Amadou Haidara, Aliou Dieng, Lassana Coulibaly, Kamory Doumbia, Adama Noss Traore, Yves Bissouma, Boubacar Traore.
Forwards: Sekou Koita, Dorgeles Nene, Moussa Doumbia, Fousseni Diabate, Ibrahim Sissoko, Lassine Sinayoko, Youssoufa Niakate, Serine Doucoure.
Bafana Bafana AFCON 2023 squad
Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams, Veli Mothwa, Ricardo Goss
Defenders: Sydney Mobbie, Grant Kekana, Terrence Mashego, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Aubrey Modiba, Mothobi Mvala, Siyanda Xulu, Khuliso Mudau.
Midfielders:Teboho Mokoena, Sphephelo Sithole, Jayden Adams, Thabang Morane, Thapelo Maseko, Thapelo Morena, Themba Zwane.
Forwards: Zakhele Lepasa, Oswin Appollis, Mihlali Mayembela, Percy Tau, Evidence Makgopa.
Mali vs Bafana Bafana combined 11 in AFCON 2023
Coach Eric Chelle of Mali and Hugo Broos who manages Bafana Bafana both announced good squads to prosecute the AFCON in Ivory Coast.
We have tried to select the very best from the two squads to create a combined eleven players made of the finest of them all.
In goal, we chose the reliable Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana shot-stopper Ronwen Williams who has been in terrific form for Masandawana in the Soccer Premier League.
And in the defense two players from both countries completed the backline: Aubrey Modiba, Mamadou Fofana, Falaye Sacko, and Khuliso Mudau.
The middle of the pack contains Sundowns' Teboho Mokoena and Malian duo of Yves Bissouma and Amadou Haidara who both play for Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig respectively.
In attack, the reliable Kamory Doumbia who plays for Brest in France, Ibrahim Sissoko of Saint-Etienne, and Percy Tau of Al Ahly made the cut.
Mali vs Bafana Bafana combined 11: Williams; Modiba, Fofana, Sacko, Mudau, Mokoena, Haidara, Bissouma, Doumbia, Sissoko, Tau
Mali vs Bafana Bafana: A recap of their last meetings
These footballing nations have met on five occasions since 2002.
2019 – Bafana Bafana 2-1 Mali (International friendly)
South Africa met Mali last in October, 2019 in an international friendly game at Gqeberha where Bafana came out on top with Molefi Ntseki as coach.
Dean Furman put Bafana ahead from the penalty-spot before first half substitute Zwane added a second before the break. The scoreline remained the same until RB Salzburg attacker Sekou Koita pulled one back in the 74th minute mark, but Bafana hung on to see out the win.
2015 – Bafana Bafana 3-0 Mali (International friendly)
These sides met in a warm-up friendly in the Gabonese capital of Libreville ahead of the 2015 AFCON event.
Under the tutorship of Shakes Mashaba, Bafana Bafana recorded a convincing 3-0 victory as Thulani Hlatshwayo, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Furman all scored to condemn the Malians to a big defeat.
2014 – Bafana Bafana 1-1 Mali (African Nations Championship)
South Africa hosted the championship and these sides met in a group stage clash which would contribute to an embarrassing early exit for coach Gordon Igesund’s men.
Igesund had selected the best of the Premier Soccer League players and they took the lead through a Bernard Parker penalty. But Ibourahima Sidibe scored an equalizer in the 54th minute and neither side could find a winner which ensured Bafana were knocked out.
2013 – Bafana Bafana 1-1 Mali (Africa Cup of Nations)
In the 2013 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations which South Africa hosted, Bafana met Mali in the quarter-finals in a clash which ended 1-1.
Tokelo Rantie had put Bafana into a deserved lead just past the half-hour mark, but an unfortunate injury minutes later Rantie would tilt the game in Mali's favour.
Seydou Keita pulled the Eagles back into the game in the 58th minute and neither side found the net again all through regulation time and extra time.
However, during the spot kicks, Dean Furman, May Mahlangu and Lehlohonolo Majoro missed three in a row for South Africa to ensure Patrice Carteron's Mali progressed to the semis where they met the Super Eagles of Nigeria but ultimately suffered a 4-0 defeat to late Stephen Keshi's side.
2002 – Mali 2-0 Bafana Bafana (Africa Cup of Nations)
Carlos Queiroz’s Bafana Bafana came up against hosts Mali in the quarter-finals of the 2002 AFCON.
Captained by Eric Tinkler, South Africa fell to a 2-0 defeat to Mali as goals from Bassala Toure and Dramane Coulibaly either side of the half sent the Malians into the semi-finals.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago