Mali appoint former defender Eric Chelle as new coach

Mali exited the Africa Cup of Nations during the round of 16 earlier this year. Kepseu/Xinhua via Getty Images

Mali have named former defender Eric Chelle as their new coach, the country's football federation said on Saturday.

The 44-year-old replaces Mohammed Magassouba, whose contract was not renewed after Mali narrowly lost out to Tunisia in the World Cup qualification playoffs in March.

Chelle, born in the Ivory Coast and who played his entire professional career in France, won five caps for Mali in 2003-04.

His appointment as coach comes despite only having previously coached at Martigues and Boulogne in the French lower divisions.

He will have little time to prepare for the start of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations group qualifiers, where Mali take on Congo in Bamako on June 4 in their opening Group G game and are then up against South Sudan in Cairo four days later.