How Guinea's luck held in lots draw


It was two nervous Guinea and Mali officials who took to the stage in Malabo on Thursday for the drawing of lots Thursday.

Two balls were placed in a glass bowl before the watching Confederation of African Football executive at a Malabo hotel as a rare drawing of lots was used by CAF to separate two countries that finished level in Group D.
 
The nervous pair came on to the stage after a brief introduction from CAF president Issa Hayatou who expressed regret that a place in the quarter-finals was to be settled in such a way.

Two pieces of paper with 'two' and 'three' written on them were placed into two green balls before Mali FA chief Boubacar Diarra and Amara Dabo, financial director of the Guinean Sports Ministry, made their choices.

Diarra's face fell as his ball revealed 'three' while Dabo beamed as he realised Guinea had progressed as runners-up to Ivory Coast in Group D for a quarter-final with Ghana in Malabo on Sunday.

The Mali FA president struggled to hide his emotions after leaving the draw.

"It is cruel to be eliminated at this stage with the team we have," Diarra told Reuters. "For 20 years Mali haven't had a team like this one."

Mali finished third in the last two Nations Cup tournaments.

"We qualified outside of Guinea. We played all our home games in Morocco," said Minister of Youth Moustapha Naite referring to the Ebola virus that meant his side were banned from playing in their own country during the preliminary stages.

"No one expected us to be here. I'm certain this could be a really good sign. We have a team that can do it because they've proven that in the first three games. We can go all the way."

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