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Football | Afcon 2017

Thoughts of war haunt Mali preparations



Mali national team has had a satisfactory preparation for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, according to coach Patrice Carteron, who took charge of the outfit last year following the exit of Alain Giresse, however, the armed conflict underway in the West African country is on the mind of many players as they wrap up groundwork for the tournament.

The Eagles midfielder Sigamary Diarra, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Ajaccio, said on Wednesday that every other thing was going on fine in their camp in South Africa but what dominates the gossip within the group is the troubles back home, where French soldiers and loyalists are trying to dislodge Islamic rebels from the north of the vast country.

“For now everything is going on fine. We have done well in preparing for the tournament and we feel set for kick off, however, our thoughts and hearts are focused on the situation in Mali. We are thinking of our families and the entire nation. We have faith that peace will return anytime soon, but we just can’t stop thinking of those back home,” he said.

Mali will play their first match against Niger on January 20 in Port Elizabeth.



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