Third-place matches have a reputation for being less-fancied but can also be an entertaining finish in some football fixtures.
For Ghana and Mali, who go into Saturday’s third-place fixture at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, winning can only be a consolation but also afford them a chance to look ahead in their team building efforts.
Exactly a year ago, Ghana and Mali were preparing for a third-place game after both saw their final ambition dashed at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Both sides will now serve up a repeat of last year’s game as they turn their sights to the third-place fixture in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, a day before the final. The Black Stars last year finished fourth after losing 2-0 to Mali in the play-off.
Maxwell Konadu, assistant Black Stars coach says the technical team has a duty to get the players ready after seeing their title ambitions blown.
“It’s our responsibility to motivate the team, to encourage them. We’ll do our best,” Konadu said.
“Everyone back home was expecting us to win the Cup, but it didn’t happen.
“But all is not lost. We will go out and fight against Mali for third place, and then re-organise ourselves for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.”