AFCON match Ghana Vs Mali: Ghana seeks to avenge 2012 third-place defeat by Mali - Saturday's third-place match between Ghana and Mali at the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa could afford the Black Stars the golden opportunity to avenge their 2012 defeat by the Malians.
In Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2012, both sides were, just like this year, placed in the same group. Ghana won the Group match 2-0 but the Eagles got their revenge in the Bronze Medal match, winning by the same scoreline.
Saturday's match therefore presents the Black Stars with the chance to avenge that defeat.
Mali was completely outplayed in their 4-1 semi-final thrashing to Nigeria in Durban on Wednesday. They were so badly beaten that by the end of the first half they trailed 3-0. Even their captain Seydou Keita could not make the difference.
Ghana too was less than convincing and finally caved in when they were eliminated by Burkina Faso. The Black Stars lost on penalties to a Burkinabe side that faced poor refereeing decisions after the match finished 1-1 in regulation time.
The venue, Port Elizabeth, is familiar to both sides because that was their base during the group phase. Ghana, unbeaten there, will be playing their fifth match of the tournament at the venue.
Mali has played two group matches in Port Elizabeth, winning the first against minnows Niger, and losing to Ghana.
While the Malians looked totally vulnerable, the Ghanaians managed to pull through although Cape Verde played better in the quarterfinals. It was only their experience that helped them through.
The Ghanaians will play under pressure on Saturday as they will be trying to pacify that fans at home who have written them off since the semi-final debacle which they lost 3-2 on penalties to Burkina Faso.
Shortly after the final whistle in the Burkina Faso encounter, Ghanaian fans poured out their frustrations on the technical team and players for their woeful performance, even when Tunisian referee Slim Jdidi appeared to have favoured the Stars in most of his decisions
Even their president, John Dramani Mahama, shared in the frustration, saying that the whole nation and players were crestfallen following the loss.
“It is high time we realised there are no longer minnows in the game of soccer these days. Government will partner the GFA in a team-rebuilding effort,' he promised.