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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 12:37 GMT
Kanoute grateful for a rest
Frederic Kanoute celebrates with his Mali team-mates
Kanoute is enjoying his experience in Tunisia
Frederic Kanoute insisted he was happy to be rested from Mali's Group B decider with Senegal on Monday.

Kanoute had scored three goals in his first two games at the Africa Cup of Nations as Mali guaranteed a quarter-final place with a game to spare.

Coach Henri Stambouli took the opportunity to give his striker a break and Kanoute said it was a sensible option.

The 26-year-old insisted: "There was nothing wrong with me. I was rested."

"My objective is not to be a top scorer but to help my team win, he said.

"We have a good team and a big squad. Everyone in the Mali team can play and they all showed it on Monday."

All of our performances so far have shown that we are a good team
Frederic Kanoute

Kanoute also believes that holding World Cup quarter-finalists Senegal to a draw underlines the promise they showed in the opening games against Kenya and Burkina Faso.

"Senegal are a good side, but I think we were the better team on the pitch and we could have won," said Kanoute.

He added: "All of our performances so far have shown that we are a good team.

"We have finished top of the group and now we face Guinea. They have some good players but we have great confidence at the moment."

Coach Stambouli added that he wanted Kanoute to enjoy a mental rest, as well as a physical one.

"Kanoute earned a lot of praise from the first match," said the coach.

"But despite him not playing, we showed we can still score goals and that's very satisfying for me, the staff and the players on the bench."

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