Home » Chelle to continue Mali project despite AFCON 2023 Quarter-final Exit

Chelle to continue Mali project despite AFCON 2023 Quarter-final Exit

by Lesley Ngwa
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  • The Eagles of Mali will continue to fly under Eric Chelle’s guidance until the 2025 AFCON
  • The Malian football federation has reaffirmed its trust in the 44-year-old who led Mali to the quarter finals for the first time since 2013
  • Eric Chelle was appointed as replacement for Mohammed Magassouba after the latter failed to qualify for the 2022 world cup

Eric Chelle will remain as head coach of the Eagles of Mali despite their quarter-final exit at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The former Malian international will stay as manager of this 2013 bronze medallist, with some technical adjustments to be made.

Chelle, a former Mali international defender, guided the Eagles to the last eight of the continental tournament, where they lost 2-1 to hosts Cote D’Ivoire after extra time

He was appointed as Mali’s coach in May 2022, replacing Mohammed Magassouba, who had led the team to the round of 16 of the 2021 AFCON.

The 44-year-old, who was born in Ivory Coast and played his entire club career in France, had previously coached GS Consolat, FC Martigues, and US Boulogne in the lower divisions of French football.

His first challenge with Mali was to qualify for the 2023 AFCON, which he achieved with ease, topping Group G with 15 points, ahead of Gambia, Congo, and South Sudan.

At the 2023 AFCON, Chelle’s Mali impressed with their attacking flair and defensive solidity, scoring six goals and conceding four in five matches, three of which were from Lassine Sinayoko.

Under Chelle, the Eagles have recorded 12 wins, four draws, two defeats in 18 games played.

With the AFCON over for Mali, Chelle’s immediate task will be to prepare the team for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, which will continue in June 2024.

Mali have never qualified for the World Cup, and will face tough competition from Ghana, who have been to four editions, and Comoros, who have been on the rise in recent years.

The former GS Consolat manager will also have an eye on the 2025 AFCON, where he will hope to lead Mali to their first continental title, or at least improve on their best finish of runners-up in 1972.

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