African Nations Cup 2012

Giresse: No barrier to Mali ambitions

January 17, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Mali coach Alain Giresse has refused to set a target for his team at the upcoming African Nations Cup, simply stating "we want to be the best".

Alain Giresse Mali
GettyImagesAlain Giresse took Mali to third place at the African Nations Cup finals in 2012.

Led by Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, who came out of international retirement during the qualifiers to help the Eagles progress to the finals, Mali have been tipped by some to be potential dark horses this time around.

But Giresse does not believe in making predictions about his side's chances, preferring just to encourage them to perform to the best of their ability.

"We will not be limited by saying we can only go so far," Giresse said. "We will not put a barrier to our ambitions. We want the best, we want the maximum. We will do whatever it takes to get the best performance."

Giresse led Gabon to a shock victory over Cameroon at the 2010 tournament in Angola, and his youthful Mali team may need to pull off a surprise result of their own if they are to advance beyond a difficult group containing Guinea, Botswana and one of the tournament favourites, Ghana.

"It's not an easy group, it's a difficult group," Giresses admitted. "It will not be easy especially against Ghana. They are the favourites, but in the end the other teams will compete."