KOLKATA: Coach Jonas Kokou Komla insists Mali have “nothing to lose” in FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 third place play-off with Brazil on Saturday at Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
The Eaglets of Mali exceeded many expectations to advance to the semifinals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the second successive time before Spain overpowered them 3-1 on Wednesday at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Mali, though, still have a chance to record their second best finish in the FIFA U-17 World Cup having finished runners-up in 2015 and coach Komla has urged his players to keep their heads up and fight for the pride of their country.
“We have played well in this competition. Our primary objective was to reach the semifinal, but after we lost against Spain, now there is nothing to lose and we must play well to win and claim third place,” said Komla.
“When we play well, sometimes there is still no luck, and in the last match there was no luck, but I hope we can win against Brazil.”
“We don’t feel any pressure coming into this match – that’s not because it’s not a important game because it is, but more because we are focusing on performing at our best and getting the best outcome we can.” he added.
A subplot for this fixture features Mali ace Lassana N’diaye whose six goals in the tournament puts him on an equal with Spain’s Abel Ruiz and just one behind current top-scorer Rhian Brewster of England. Should the striker, who plays club football in Mozambique, be selected he will have this final chance against the Selecao to stake a claim on the competition’s golden boot award.