Nigeria vs Mali: Three Players the Super Eagles Should Be Wary of Including Real Sociedad’s Traore

Nigeria vs Mali: Three Players the Super Eagles Should Be Wary of Including Real Sociedad’s Traore

Ero Samson
updated at March 25, 2024 at 2:37 PM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Mali logo
Ghana logo
Mauritania logo
Atalanta logo
Hamari Traore logo
H. Traore
Real Sociedad logoDMali logo
El Bilal Toure logo
E. B. Toure
Atalanta logoFMali logo
Amadou Haidara logo
A. Haidara
RB Leipzig logoMMali logo
Yves Bissouma logo
Y. Bissouma
Tottenham Hotspur logoMMali logo
Almeria logo
Real Sociedad logo
Real Sociedad
RB Leipzig logo
RB Leipzig
  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria continue their friendly fixtures with a clash against Les Aigles of Mali
  • Finidi George's side faces a Mali team that have suffered only one defeat in their last 11 outings
  • Sports Brief highlights a few players the Nigerian team must keep an eye on to ensure victory

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are continuing their series of friendly encounters with a showdown against their West African counterparts, Mali.

The fixture slated for the Stade de Marrakech, Morocco, serves as the Nigerian team's second and final friendly fixture during this international window.

Though friendly matches are often viewed with less intensity than competitive ones, this particular encounter presents a valuable opportunity for both teams.

Mali, Nigeria, Super Eagles, CAF, AFCON, Morocco, Les Aigles
The Mali national team have only tasted defeat once in their last 11 games. Image: Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

For Nigeria's newly appointed interim coach, Finidi George, it is a chance to further refine his tactics and evaluate player combinations in preparation for the crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series in June.

Meanwhile, for Mali, it serves as another opportunity to test their strength and build on their recent run of impressive matches.

Nonetheless, as both teams gear up for what promises to be a pivotal test, Sports Brief highlights three Mali players the Super Eagles should keep a close eye on ahead of the clash.

Mali players Nigeria should be wary of

Hamari Traore

The Real Sociedad fullback is undoubtedly one of the Nigerian team's key concerns in the upcoming clash against Mali. The 32-year-old is known for his tireless work ethic, often creating overloads for forwards in attack and providing crucial defensive cover when needed.

Having featured for Les Aigles for the better part of the last decade, the captain boasts a wealth of experience that could be pivotal in helping his side secure their first victory in nine meetings against Nigeria.

El Bilal Toure

The 23-year-old forward, who impressed with La Liga side, Almeria, last season, has maintained his excellent form at his current club, Atalanta.

In their previous match against Mauritania, the centre forward was in superb form, needing only 12 minutes to open the scoring as captured by

Toure's pace and positioning between the centre defenders are sure to pose significant challenges for the Super Eagles.

It is now up to coach Finidi to devise a strategy to stop the Atalanta star when both sides meet in Marrakech.

Amadou Haidara

In the absence of Yves Bissouma, RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara, is expected to anchor the midfield for Eric Chelle's side.

The 26-year-old, who has become a mainstay at Leipzig, is known for his immense work rate, which could prove crucial against the Super Eagles.

Haidara's ability to orchestrate play and set the tempo for Mali's attacks is a key aspect of his game. Additionally, his skill in finding incisive passes can create goal-scoring opportunities for his team.

The Nigerian team will need to devise a strategy that limits Haidara's time on the ball if they hope to secure victory.

Nonetheless, while Mali boasts a strong team with exciting players, it's important to remember that the outcome of a football game is determined on the field. The clash between both sides promises to be a thrilling encounter.

How Osimhen's AFCON performance affected Finidi’s tactics

Sports Brief in another report noted that Nigeria's interim coach, Finidi, discussed how Victor Osimhen's performance at the AFCON influenced the Super Eagles’ formation against Ghana.

The 52-year-old emphasised the strain placed on the Napoli forward during the tournament and aimed to prevent a recurrence of it.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).