Out of Africa
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Fredi Kanoute reports that he enjoyed his African Cup of Nations experience but admits he feels Mali should have reached the final.
Mali were eliminated by Morocco at the semi-final stage before losing to Nigeria in the 3rd-4th place play-off. It was certainly a promising debut tournament for Fredi, who netted four times to fire Mali towards the last four.
"It was quite successful, but we were still quite disappointed in the end because we believed that we could have reached the final," he reflected. "At the end of the day though, it was good and we were happy.
"Tournament football is very different - every time you make a mistake it could be the end for you. It brings great motivation, every game is hard and it is very exciting."
Fredi added that, from a football perspective, he had little difficulty in adapting to the game on a different continent - the Premiership proved to be good preparation.
"It was quite physical so I was used to that with my experience in English football. It was quick and there was even more quality then I expected.
"Most of the players are based in Europe now from every team at a good level and I think the standard of the tournament will get increasingly strong. There is a lot of talent in Africa and I think more players will come over to Europe in time, I think eventually Africa will have some of the best players in the world.
"Before the African teams had some shortcomings in their game, but they are improving everywhere and sometimes I couldn't really see the difference between the level in Europe and Africa.
"I can see the World Cup being very tight in future and think we are going to see more African countries reaching the later stages."