Tottenham Hotspur FC striker Frédéric Kanouté made a spectacular debut for Mali as he scored twice in a 3-1 African Cup of Nations Group B win against Kenya on a day when Senegal were held 0-0 by Burkina Faso in Tunisia.
Valencia CF's Mohamed Sissoko, who like Kanouté had previously represented France at youth level but was cleared to play for Mali as a full international, also made a fine bow as he gave them the lead in Bizerte on 28 minutes, capitalising on a loose ball in the Kenyan defence. Titus Mulama scored a fine equaliser for Kenya on 58 minutes, but Kanouté soon restored Mali's lead and another powerful finish nine minutes from the end secured victory.
'I am very happy'
Kanouté said: "Today is the beginning of something for me so I am very happy, but it is only a beginning. I have scored two goals, the team played well and today I am happy for a whole country. My heart is still with Tottenham, though, and I wish them all the best."
Elsewhere, a Senegal side packed with European-based players could not take advantage of their dominance against Burkina Faso, coached by Frenchman Jean-Paul Rabier, in Tunis. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC striker Henri Camara went close on 22 minutes when he headed wide, and he also hit the post early in the second half.
Diao denies Cissé
Liverpool FC midfield player Salif Diao cut out Burkina Faso's best chance as Montpellier Hérault SC's Abdoulaye Cissé bore down on goal. Senegal meet Kenya on Friday, while Mali take on Burkina Faso.
Group D openers
Group D commences on Tuesday with Nigeria playing Morocco in Monastir and South Africa facing Benin in Sfax.