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Francois Mori, Associated Press
Mali's Cedric Kante attends a training session during preparations for their African Cup of Nations semi final soccer match against Ivory Coast at INJS stadium in Libreville, Gabon, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.

LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Mali coach Alain Giresse says his team is humble but not afraid of star-studded title favorite Ivory Coast before their African Cup of Nations semifinal on Wednesday.

Giresse said humility was an "essential" part of Mali's success, as the squad has shrugged off an injury-plagued buildup and a poor performance at the last tournament to reach the last four in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The French coach said "even the biggest champions have to be humble" but his players would also have "no fear" of Ivory Coast at Stade de l'Amitie.

Giresse added "I'm sorry for those making the predictions because we're here ... we're in the semifinals" after his injury-hit and inexperienced team was given little chance of progressing far.