Mali break new ground joining Nigeria, SA, and Cameroon in AFCON women’s semis

November 26 – Mali progressed to the knockout phase of the women’s African Cup of Nations for the first time in seven attempts at the expense of hosts Ghana in group A. Reigning champions Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon complete the semi-final line-up.

The hosts drew 1-1 with Cameroon, but that impressive result did not suffice as Mali rallied late to overcome Algeria in dramatic fashion with an injury-time winner from Fatoumata Diarra.

On Tuesday they will play South Africa in the last four. “Right now we have nothing to lose,” said Mali coach Saloum. “We have to calm down and fight till the end. It is up to our opponents to knock us out.”

Banyana Banyana topped Group A on seven points, following a shock win against defending champions Nigeria. In their last group game the South Africans drew 1-1 with Zambia courtesy of a goal from Thembi Kgatlana.

The title holders Nigeria crushed Equatorial Guinea 6-0. Asisat Oshoala scored a first-half hat-trick. Nigeria take on Cameroon in the other semifinal.

The top three at the tournament will secure their births for next year’ Women’s World Cup in France. The final ticket will be decided in the third-place play off.

At the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast represented the African continent. The Cameroonians were the only team to clinch a spot in the knockout stages, but were eliminated in the round of 16 by China, 1-0.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1708916765labto1708916765ofdlr1708916765owedi1708916765sni@o1708916765fni1708916765