Mali twice came from behind to claim a point
Mali coach Djibril Drame has hailed the Uganda Cranes as a side with a big potential after they managed to take a point from his side in their opening match of the Group D encounter at Umuganda stadium, which ended in a 2-all draw.
Mali twice came from behind to claim a point and despite their football history, Drame said he had respect for Uganda after they stretched Mali to the limit.
"Uganda is a good team. They are the regional champions. There was no luck in this competition for both of us. They played and we played. We took the game to each other. It was a very hard game for us," Drame summed up the encounter.
"They were hard in defence and most of the departments worked well. we tried everything but they also played their hearts out. it was a tough game."
He however said that Mali's record of performing well in the World Cup, where they were finalists in the U-17 and semi-finalists in the U-20 category does not hold and should not be compared to other teams like Uganda that are struggling to make it to the Africa tournament adding that he only took over the team three weeks ago.
Asked how he rated his chances of advancing from the group after the performance against Uganda, he said the encounter was an eye opener.
"It is going to be a tough game against Zimbabwe but we are going to fight on. We did not come here to tour but to play and we will fight on till the end. We are ready for what we will face," said Drame.