Mohamed Chicoto says Niger have been punished again by a refereeing call at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Mena (Gazelles) were coasting to a first point in the competition before Seydou Keita delivered a late winner to give Mali all three points with a 1-0 win Sunday.
Tunisia-based defender Chicoto took a swipe at the referee for allowing Keita's late winner to stand when it appeared goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly was fouled.
"It is always like that at the Nations Cup for Niger. I don't know why, but there is always a problem with referees for Niger," said Chicoto after Niger's record at the competition extended to four losses -- three of them as debutants in Gabon last year.
Niger coach Gernot Rohr said he was not clear about the incident against Mali, but added that his players insisted the goalkeeper was fouled.
Chicoto said they will go into their next game against the Democratic Republic of Congo hoping to win and stay alive in the competition.