Mali vs South Africa AFCON prediction, lineups and where to watch live

Mali and South Africa will contend with each other for three valuable points in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023). Which of these teams will emerge victorious when it's all said and done?

Mali vs South Africa overview

This Group E match will be played at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo. Kick-off time is 9 pm WAT on Tuesday January 16.

Mali

This will be Mali's 13th appearance in Africa's biggest football tournament. Although they are still hunting for their first AFCON title, the Eagles reached the final in their maiden appearance in 1972.

All in all, Mali have six semi-final appearances in this competition. They've been second once, third twice and fourth on three occasions.

South Africa

South Africa's Bafana Bafana won their first and only Nations Cup title when they hosted the tournament in 1996. They made two consecutive trips to the semi-finals after that, finishing second in 1998, and third in 2000.

With that in mind, Bafana Bafana have not made it through to the last four in 24 years. Hugo Broos has the task of bringing South Africa's national team back to their glory days.

Mali vs South Africa head to head

The most recent encounter between these teams was in a 2019 friendly match. Bafana Bafana won that game, 2-1.

Also, the last time these teams met at the AFCON was in 2013. After playing out a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final, Mali advanced on penalties.

Mali vs South Africa potential lineups

Mali lined up in a 4-3-3 formation in their last two matches. Eric Chelle is expected to use the same starting XI that scored six goals against Guinea-Bissau last week.

On the other hand, 4-2-3-1 is Hugo Broos' go-to formation, as he adopted the same formation in his team's last six games. Captain Ronwen Williams is expected to start in goal, with Mihlali Mayambela being the lone forward.

These are our probable Mali vs South Africa lineups:

Mali

Goalkeeper: Djigui Diarra.
Defenders: Falaye Sacko, Boubakar Kouyate, Mamadou Fofana, Moussa Diarra.
Midfielders: Lassana Coulibaly, Amadou Haidara, Yves Bissouma.
Forwards: Kamory Doumbia, Sekou Koita, Youssouf Niakate.

South Africa

Goalkeeper: Ronwen Williams.
Defenders: Aubrey Modiba, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Siyanda Xulu, Khuliso Mudau.
Midfielders: Teboho Mokoena, Sphephelo Sithole, Themba Zwane, Percy Tau, Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
Forwards: Mihlali Mayambela.

Mali vs South Africa
Credit: Icon Sport

Mali vs South Africa tactical analysis

Mali are the favourites, and it's not so difficult to see why. They've been unstoppable in recent months, with six wins and a draw in their last seven matches.

On top of that, Eric Chelle's troops have not had too much trouble finding the net, as they scored 20 times in that seven-game stretch.

It can be said that Bafana Bafana are a tough team to beat, as they lost just once in their last eight matches in all competitions. However, Broos' men won just one of their last five games, with three of those ending in stalemates.

On the positive side, South Africa have been solid defensively, keeping five clean sheets in their last eight matches. It'll be interesting to see how they'll match-up against a free-scoring Mali.

Mali vs South Africa prediction

It's tough to bet against Bafana Bafana, but Mali are red-hot at the moment. The Eagles are averaging about three goals per game, and are showing no signs of slowing down.

The interesting thing is, Mali have also conceded in four consecutive matches. Considering both teams got on the scoresheet the last two times these teams met, we should expect goals at both ends.

Mali vs South Africa
Credit: Icon Sport

Where to watch Mali vs South Africa live

Malians can tune into ORTM, SuperSport Grandstand and Canal+ CAN for live coverage of this game.

Meanwhile South Africans have a fair few live streaming options, including SABC Sport, StarTimes Football Plus and Supersport.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.