Third/Fourth Place Play-Off
Ghana v Mali
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
It’s the fixture that no team really wants to have to take part in; the game for the two losing Semi-Finalists. At least however the teams won’t have to endure playing the game on the truly dreadful surface at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit or have it officiated by Slim Jedidi.
Ghana finished Third in 2008 and Fourth in 1996 & 2012. Mali finished Third in 2012 and Fourth in 1994, 2002 & 2004. Nigeria are the Third Place ‘champions’ having claimed that title on no less than seven occasions.
Mali and Ghana have already faced each other in the competition in a Group B fixture, which Ghana won with a first-half Wakaso Mubarak penalty in the same stadium as they play again tomorrow. Whether the respective line-ups will be the same remains to be seen, as it may be used as an occasion to give a game to those who have yet to start or had little playing time in the tournament. The winners though will be a historical footnote to the 2013 AFCON competition. The last five Third/Fourth Place Play-Off games were as follows:
2012 AFCON – South Africa: Mali 2 – 0 Ghana
2010 AFCON – Angola: Nigeria 1 – 0 Algeria
2008 AFCON – Ghana: Ghana 4 – 2 Ivory Coast
2006 AFCON – Egypt: Nigeria 1 – 0 Senegal
2004 AFCON – Tunisia: Nigeria 2 – 1 Mali
Good luck to the two teams; here’s hoping that playing for pride produces a reasonable game.