Mali duo, Samba Diakite and Modibo Maiga are racing against time to be fit for their Group B day two clash with Ghana’s Black Stars on Thursday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The two midfielders were briefly involved in training last Monday and the team physicians are working feverishly to get them to their best for the crucial game, the third meeting between the two teams within a year.
Both Samba and Maiga play for English clubs; Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United respectively, and are key performers for head coach Patrice Carteron.
Whilst Samba made a second half appearance against Niger last Sunday, Maiga was an unused substitute as Les Aigles picked the maximum points at the expense of the Mena thanks to a Seydou Keita goal to go two points clear at the top.
“We are waiting for them to be given the green-light to play. They are showing positive signs at training and we can only take a decision on them after Wednesday’s training,” said Carteron.
Victory for the Malians against the Black Stars will move them a step closer towards a place at the knockout stage.
Les Aigles were bronze winners at the last edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, beating the Black Stars 2-0 to claim the prize.