Mali coach Sylvain Lautie admits the ‘powerful strength and experience’ of the defending champions but believes his team have the potential to prevail.
Mali are through to the semi-finals of the 2019 AfroBasket Women after defeating Ivory Coast 60-51 in the quarterfinals in Dakar, Senegal on Thursday.
The Eagles will lock horns with D’Tigress of Nigeria in the semi-finals on Friday in a repeat of 2017 edition which was clinched by Nigeria 48-47.
“Everybody is scared of Nigeria. Not just because they are title holders but because they are good,” Lautie said after their win against Ivory Coast.
“D’Tigress have got powerful strength and experience. Their attack is very sharp. They can put the game to bed with few runs. However, if you have been observing, Mali have maintained the best defence so far for more than two years now.
“We will be able to use that potential to frustrate them. I mean, hinder them from holding possession. That could work. Our attack is good too. I think I have to stop in order not to let out all our secret in favour of Nigeria,” he said.
In the other semi-final, host team and 11-time champions Senegal will take on 2013 finalists Mozambique, also on Friday.