After Mali and Guinea finished joint second behind Ivory Coast in Group D in the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea with identical records after both teams drew all three of their matches.
Also, they both scored three times and conceded three goals apiece.
Their qualification to the quarter-finals will however be decided today at 4pm Nigerian time via drawing of lots during a CAF meeting at the Malabo Hilton hotel to decipher which of the two will face Ghana.
A ball will be picked out of a pot to
determine which of the pair will take on Ghana in the quarter-final on Sunday.
There will be two balls with position two (2) and position three (3), and the representative of the two teams will pick a ball from the pot.
The one who picks position two (2) qualifies for the quarter-final against the Black Stars.
The drawing of lots is certainly a cruel way to be eliminated from any football tournament since it comes down entirely to luck rather than skill.
And that’s not been lost on the two managers, who have been outspoken in their criticism of this last resort of splitting teams.
“We have to solve the problems of qualification without a drawing of lots,” said the Mali coach Henryk Kasperczak after his team drew 1-1 with Guinea on Wednesday afternoon.
“We must find a more sporting way. This does not correspond to a sporting spirit.”
His Guinea counterpart Michel Dussuyer agreed: “Mali do not deserve to be eliminated in this way, just as we do not.”
Meanwhile, here’s the rest of the quarter-final matches.
Congo vs DR Congo (Bata) 5pm NGT
Tunisia vs Equatorial Guinea (Bata) 8pm NGT
Ivory Coast vs Algeria (Malabo) 5pm NGT
Ghana vs Mali/Guinea (Malabo) 8pm NGT.