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Mali’s national team threatens AFCON 2025 boycott amidst federation tensions

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Tensions within Malian football have reached a boiling point as national team players issued a dramatic warning this weekend. They threatened to boycott the first two days of the AFCON 2025 qualifiers, set for September, unless significant changes are made within the Malian Football Federation (Femafoot) and the Ministry of Sports.

In a formal communiqué, the players expressed their reluctance but firm decision to take this step, aiming to address the ongoing crisis in their football results:

“We acknowledge the state’s efforts to improve our infrastructure, but the stagnation in our results is due to the mismanagement by our leaders.

We urge the federation’s executives to urgently fulfill their responsibilities.

As players, we are committed to representing our country with pride, but we need the support and clear vision of leaders dedicated to elevating Mali on the international stage.

Hence, we take our responsibilities today. If the situation remains unchanged, we reserve the right to decline selection and not participate in the upcoming qualifiers.

Out of love for Mali and our country, we make this difficult but necessary decision for future generations. This must end.”

This ultimatum comes amidst a backdrop of ongoing conflict with Femafoot and its overseeing ministry.

Just ten days ago, the Federation demanded that players exercise restraint after publicly supporting their captain, Hamari Traoré.

Traoré had called on the leaders to “take their responsibilities” following a 0-0 draw against Madagascar on June 11, criticizing poor preparation.

The travel conditions for that match were chaotic: the team’s flight was repeatedly postponed, and the Malian delegation finally arrived in South Africa on a third-party flight, less than 10 hours before kickoff.

Adding to the discontent is the recent dismissal of coach Eric Chelle, despite his impressive record of 13 victories in 21 matches, with only five draws and three losses.

This decision has been met with backlash from the players, who viewed Chelle as instrumental in leading the team to the quarter-finals in the 2024 AFCON.

The decision to remove Chelle is seen as particularly unjust, considering his achievements and the team’s progress under his guidance.

The players’ frustration is compounded by the perception that the federation’s leadership is failing to prioritize the team’s best interests.

The current situation places Femafoot and the Ministry of Sports in a precarious position.

The players’ firm stance and the looming threat of a boycott add urgency to the need for swift and decisive action.

The upcoming decisions by the federation and the ministry will be crucial in determining the future of the Eagles and their participation in AFCON 2025.

This crisis not only jeopardizes Mali’s immediate football prospects but also poses a significant threat to the long-term development of the sport in the country.

The players’ ultimatum underscores a deep-seated need for reform and effective leadership within the Malian football establishment.

As the clock ticks down to the AFCON 2025 qualifiers, the world watches closely to see if Malian football can navigate this turbulent period and emerge stronger.

The stakes are high, and the potential fallout from a boycott could mark a pivotal moment in the history of Malian football.

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issa said

issa said

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