Posted: Thursday January 31, 2013 10:09 AM

Mali playing for fans in Timbuktu

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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) -While South Africa will be boosted by a 50,000-strong sellout crowd in Saturday's African Cup of Nations quarterfinals, opponent Mali has been inspired by fans from as far away as Timbuktu.

Mali coach Patrice Carteron says his team had found motivation from the news that parts of northern Mali has been liberated in the ongoing conflict there and fans in Timbuktu will be able to watch a game on television for the first time in a year.

Carteron says his players want to give "joy and happiness'' to their country after hearing those supporters were able to watch them qualify for the quarterfinals.

Mali is looking for a place in the semifinals for the second straight tournament. South Africa hasn't been to the last four in more than a decade.

 
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