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Football - Mali: In search of the right midfield

Football - Mali: In search of the right midfield

In the past, Mali's national soccer team has produced some great midfielders. History seems to be repeating itself with this new golden generation comprising Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haïdara, Cheick Doucouré, Diadié Samassekou and others.Almost similar profiles, which could, however, cause difficulties for the coach.

Mali has had some great midfielders in its history. Mahamadou Diarra, Seydou Keita and Mohamed Sissoko have all made their mark with their clubs, but also with the Aigles. The first of these played for Olympique Lyonnais (2002/2006) and Real Madrid (2006/2011). Nicknamed "Diarra Djila", the rugged midfielder was even captain of the White House. At the same time, Seydou Keïta shone for Catalan giants Pep Guardiola's Barça (2008/2012).

Despite the retirement of these legends, the Malian midfield has not lost its richness. If Nigeria can boast a flamboyant attack, with all its gunners shining at the highest level, Mali also boasts a fine armada of midfielders. With Yves Bissouma (Tottenham), Diadié Samassekou (Hoffenheim), Cheick Doucouré (Crystal Palace), Amadou Haïdara (Leipzig) and Mohamed Camara (Monaco), Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton), to name but a few, the Eagles are well stocked in this sector.

The Toffees midfielder may have put his international career on hold, but the others are still on the pitch, making the Malians very happy. Coach Eric Chelle took advantage of the October break to call up other promising young midfielders. Ibrahima Sissoko (Strasbourg), Boubacar Traoré (Wolverhampton) and Kamory Doumbia have been added to the Malian midfield. They have already beaten Uganda on Saturday October 14 (0-1) and will play a second match against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday October 17. Traffic jam in the middle

Since Chelle's arrival, Mali's national team has been on a winning streak. The Eagles have won 7, drawn one and lost one of their 9 matches. They have also qualified for the 2023 African Cup of Nations. If the signs seem to be green, the richness of this midfield could also be a source of problems for the team. Despite the abundance in this sector, it lacks variety.

The profiles of these midfielders are almost identical. They're all defensive midfielders. So many players for one or two positions. The coach will have to be very ingenious to get the most out of his midfield. Éric Chelle alternates between a 4-4-2 diamond formation and a 4-3-3, and doesn't hesitate to deploy 4 or even 5 midfielders in the field. But with the quality of these players, they have so far managed to make the team shine. Even so, we'll need to find the ideal formula for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, where the squads already look very strong.


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