Mali and Egypt are preparing to lock horns in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group D encounter on Tuesday at Stade de Port Gentil.
The Africa’s most successful side are back at the Cup of Nations after seven years and they are aiming to add another title to their record seven continental trophies.
Before we head out to watch the game, Here are 15 interesting facts about the two Group D teams(Opta).
- This is Egypt’s 23rd Africa Cup of Nations, a record in the history of the tournament.
- Egypt have been champions a record seven times with the 1959, 1986 and 2006 successes coming as hosts. The other titles were won in Sudan (1957), Burklna Faso (1998), Ghana (2008) and Angola (2010).
- Mali came closest to glory in 1972 when they lost the final 3-2 against Congo-Brazzaville after conceding three goals within seven minutes during the second half in Yaounde.
- Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, 44, will become the oldest player to compete at the African Nations Cup finals if he plays against Mali.
- This is Egypt’s first AFCON participation since 2010, having failed to qualify for any of the last three tournaments, their longest drought in the history of the tournament.
- Egypt are unbeaten in their last 19 AFCON games (W15 D4), the longest run in the history of the tournament. Their last defeat dates back to January 2004 against Algeria (1-2).
- Egypt have also won each of their last nine games at the AFCON, again a record.
- Meanwhile, this is Mali’s 10th AFCON participation. Their best performance came in 1972, when they lost 3-2 in the final against Congo.
- The Pharaohs of Egypt are ranked third in Africa and 35th in the world while the Eagles of Mali are 13th in the African listings and 64th in the world.
- All three of Mali’s group games in 2015 ended 1-1. They were knocked out following a drawing of lots after ending in a perfect tie with Guinea.
- Five of Mali’s last seven AFCON games have ended in a draw (W1 L1).
- Both teams have scored in each of Mali’s last seven AFCON games.
- Mali and Egypt’s only previous AFCON encounter was in the 1994 quarter-finals. Mali won 1-0.
- This is Alain Giresse’s fourth AFCON as manager. The Mali boss was already in charge of the Eagles in 2012 when he took them to third place.
- Egypt boss Héctor Cúper is taking charge at an AFCON for the first time.