Mali – Shared Dream
Mali certainly have the players and possess a good pool of talent. Perhaps all they need is to take a calmer, more long-term view. Many national head coaches have come and gone over the past ten years: Mamadou Keita, Christian Sarramagna, Romano Matte, Henry Kasperczak, Christian Dalger, Henri Stambouli, Alain Moizan, Mamadou Keita again, Pierre Lechantre and now Jean-Francois Jodar, who is overseeing Mali’s qualifying campaign for ACN 2008 in Ghana.
“What I am most interested in at the moment is training coaches. The next priority is working with young players to improve the quality of Malian football. It’s a long-term job,” says Jodar, who helped France lift the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago.
Kanoute believes that Mali will begin to make a name for themselves on the international stage any time now. “I think that we are one of the better teams on the African continent, although Cameroon, Cote d’lvoire and Nigeria are ahead of us. All we need is a bit of experience and that will come,” says the Sevilla striker. However, it is not easy to carry out a long-term project when the country demands instant results, particularly after Mali lost out to Togo in their qualifying group for the 2006 FIFA World Cup’” in Germany.
Kanoute, Sissoko, Diarra, Seydou Keita, Djimi Traore and all of Mali have one goal: to book a place at South Africa 2010. The whole country is dreaming of celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence by debuting at the World Cup.