Mali coach Eric Chelle is looking forward to the challenge posed by South Africa in Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations fixture in Ivory Coast.

Mali and South Africa have been pooled with Namibia and Tunisia at the tournament. Bafana Bafana won the tournament in 1996. Mali’s best AFCON was in 1972’s runners-up status.

“South Africa has a good team at AFCON. It’s up to us to emerge as winners,” said Chelle.

“I like this South African team – they like to play and since Hugo Broos came they changed their system. They try to keep the ball and find mistakes from the opposition.

“I’m excited to play against South Africa. They have a good coach and technical staff, but we have our strengths, which we will try and use to exploit them.”

Mali captain Hamari Traore added: “South Africa are a great football nation. We come with humility. We don’t take them lightly. They won AFCON before. We are ready to fight.

“We have video analysts, we watched the matches from South Africa and our technical staff will advise us.”

In Tuesday’s other AFCON fixtures, Tunisia will play Namibia and Burkina Faso will meet Mauritania.

Senegal are the reigning AFCON champions – and beat Gambia 3-0 earlier this week. Egypt are the most successful team in the history of the tournament with seven titles – and will play Ghana on Thursday.