Mali have made three changes to their starting line-up to play Ghana on Thursday as three experienced players have been brought in but have still left out key player Modibo Maiga.
Mohammed Sissoko, Adama Coulibaly and Samba Diakite have been brought in to face the Black Stars.
Cheick Fanta Mady, Kalilou Mohammed Traore and Wague Molla have all been dropped to the bench.
The trio, who have vast exeprience at the highest level of world football but were not used during Sunday’s opening match against Niger.
Defensive midfielder Samba Diakite was an important member of Mali’s 2012 Africa Cup of Nations squad, but he has threatened to ignore a call-up for the 2013 event due to the ailing form of his club side Queens Park Rangers, who are bottom of the Premier League at the time of writing.
The 24-year-old, who was born in France, started out his senior career at Nancy before having a loan spell at QPR which became permanent in 2012.
Sissoko, a tough-tackling midfielder who has played for some of the biggest names on the European club scene, Mohamed (or Momo as he is more often called) Sissoko could well be Mali’s midfield anchor man for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
The 27-year-old (he’ll turn 28 during the course of the tournament) has appeared at three previous Nations Cup editions with ‘The Eagles’.
He has been left out of the national team in recent times, but made a return at the back end of the qualifiers for SA 2013.
One of Mali’s most experienced defenders, Adama Coulibaly was part of their squads at the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
The 32-year-old is a tall and strongly-built centre-back whose power and aerial ability are strong points.
He started out his career with Djoliba AC before moving to France to play for Lens in 1999.
He lasted nearly a decade at ‘Les Sang et Or’ before switching to present club AJ Auxerre in 2008.