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Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Sunday, 3 January 2010

Mali coach sets Angola targets

Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport

Mali coach Stephen keshi
Mali coach Stephen Keshi believes the Eagles will triumph at the Nations Cup

Mali coach Stephen Keshi has set his sights on winning the top prize at next Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off next week in Angola.

Keshi was speaking after the Eagles won bronze at the invitational tournament in Qatar.

Mali were using the competition to prepare for the Nations Cup.

And after watching his team's performance coach Keshi is confident 2010 is the year the Malian team emerges as champion of the continent.

"I know we are not among the favourites, but we are optimistic that this team can go as far as the final," Keshi told BBC Sport.

"You only need to look at the calibre of players in this team, the body language, attitude and spirit, so I'm not totally ruling us out of the trophy," he added.

"Our games here have helped me look at various combinations."

Mali will have to overcome hosts Angola, World Cup bound Algeria and Malawi in Group A if they are to progress to the knock out stage.

They crashed out in the group stage at the 2008 edition in Ghana.

Mali played a goalless draw against the hosts in their final game in the Qatari tournament.

North Korea won the gold in the four team competition despite losing 1-0 to Iran in the other game.

Next up for Mali is a friendly against African champions Egypt, in Dubai.

The Eagles are scheduled to arrive in Luanda on 7 January, where they play the tournament's opening game against hosts Angola.

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see also
Mali monitoring Keita injury
21 Dec 09 |  African
Mali's Sidi Keita out of Angola
19 Dec 09 |  African
Mali condemns Benin 'aggression'
09 Sep 09 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations
10 Apr 10 |  African

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