Mali coach Stephen Keshi insists the Eagles can still claim automatic qualification for the World Cup in South Africa.
Mali trail Group D leaders Ghana by five points with three games left to play.
But Keshi refuses to accept that the best his side can aim for now is a place at the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola instead. Finishing third in the group, which also includes Benin and Sudan, would put Mali into the frame for Angola.
That seems their best hope after following an opening match draw by Sudan with a home loss to Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars.Â Buoyed by his teamâ€™s victory over Benin in June and a recent morale-boosting friendly win over Burkina Faso, Keshi defiantly told BBC Sport that â€œitâ€™s not over yet.â€
â€œThe way Sudan played against us, they can go and give Ghana a tough game when they play them in a couple of weeks.
â€œCredit to Benin and Burkina Faso, they made it difficult for us. But we played very well, much better than we did against Sudan and Ghana, and I was proud of the players.
â€œTheir attitude was great, it automatically buried the problems that have plagued our matches for some time and I still think the group could go down to our last game.â€The former Nigerian captain added: â€œWeâ€™ve got to win every game and realistically, weâ€™re probably going for second place.”