2024 CAN: Mali-Côte d’Ivoire, a match “between brothers” but a semi-final at stake

The proximity between the two teams has been praised by the main actors of the encounter, who hope that the match will be a great celebration even though the stakes of a semi-final could exacerbate tensions. More than just a match, this derby between very close neighbors holds a special significance given the links between the two countries and the two teams. The coach of Mali, Éric Sékou Chelle, born in Abidjan, expressed his emotions about playing against his home country during a press conference. “It’s a match filled with emotions for me, having roots here.

I take a lot of pleasure in being here,” said the Mali coach. “It’s a match between two brotherly countries connected by DNA.” Among his players, Yves Bissouma, born 27 years ago in the popular neighborhood of Youpougon in Abidjan, will certainly have mixed feelings. Likewise, Nene Dorgeles, born in Kayes to Ivorian parents.

On the other side, some Elephants could have played for the opposing team. Seko Fofana, for example, was long courted by Mali due to the supposed origins of his parents from the village of Landibou in the region of Kayes. Thousands of Malian nationals live in Ivorian cities such as Korhogo, near the Malian border, or Bouaké where many traders from all regions of Mali operate. “This match between two brotherly countries, in the Stadium of Peace, is symbolic,” insists Éric Chelle.

“Both teams need to come out of it grown, and we should be able to embrace at the end of this match.” In the same vein, Emerse Faé, a “friend” of Chelle, “wants the match to be as fair-play as possible.” What about football in all this? Côte d’Ivoire enters this quarter-final with the confidence gained during its [.

It may have found itself, at least, in its initial ambition to win the AFCON that it is hosting. Will that be enough? Because Éric’s Eagles arrive in Bouaké with more certainty in their game, boasting a high-level midfield that should delight in the midfield battle. This promises to be an exciting game of football.

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