Mali must beat Uganda in Oyem and hope Egypt lose to Ghana in the other Group D match if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
But to do that Alain Giresse’s side need to improve in front of goal having thus far failed to score.
Eliminated from the Nations Cup in 2015 in bizarre fashion after a drawing of lots with Guinea in a hotel meeting room in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo, another such scenario is possible.
Mali and Egypt drew 0-0 with each other in their first game and so if they end up locked on the same points and same goal difference, such a last resort will be required to separate them.
Uganda, meanwhile, are already eliminated so will hope to bow out of their finals appearance in 39 years by registering a first goal and a first win.