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Africa Cup of Nations 2013: ‘Mali’s third place about more than football’

Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Mali head coach Patrice Carteron says his side's third-place finish is about more than football

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Mali boss Patrice Carteron could not hide his delight after they defeated Ghana to finish third in the Africa Cup of Nations for the second successive year.

Goals from Mamadou Samassa, ex-Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita and Sigimany Diarra gave Mali the win after Mubarak Wakaso missed a penalty before Kwadwo Asamoah grabbed a consolation.

Carteron lauded his players’ success, which the Frenchman felt would resonate beyond the football world, with Mali experiencing civil unrest.

“I am proud and very happy to have achieved third place in the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said.

“The players have worked very hard for me throughout the tournament and they deserved to get third place for their efforts.

“We are going back home to a country which will probably be very happy with what we have achieved considering what is happening in the country at the moment.

“The bronze medal is a huge achievement for this group of players.

“For a big nation like Mali this is only the second time we have gone this far in the competition and we are very happy with what we have achieved.

“We hope we can use it to continue to improve and the players have not let me down the entire tournament.”

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah believed this experience will represent a learning curve for his young side and insisted he is still pleased with the Black Stars’ tournament.

“I have had this team for almost ten months now and I have introduced 11 young players into this competition [Nations Cup],” Appiah said.

“I don’t expect that when you are building a team, you can suddenly think you can win everything. I personally believe that they have done so well.

“I personally believe they performed very well, it is unfortunate. When you have your chances and don’t take it, that is where sometimes you see experience and those coming up.

“Considering that fact that I have so many [young players] in the team, I believe they will do well anytime they are given this opportunity again because by then, they would have had experience in playing in competitions.”

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