Mali sack Keshi

Mali have sacked their Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi following the country's group-stage exit from the 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, the Malian football federation have announced.

The decision, taken on Wednesday, was in direct response to Mali's poor showing at the tournament in Angola, where Mali drew 4-4 with the hosts, lost 1-0 to Algeria and beat Malawi 3-1. Keshi took up the post in April 2008 with the stated aim of qualifying Mali for the Africa Cup of Nations and the 2010 World Cup, which he failed to do.

In a press release seen by AFP, the Malian football federation states that its executive committee undertook "a thorough analysis of the factors that led to the premature elimination of the national team from the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations". The federation criticised the "barely professional behaviour of certain players and some of the backroom staff" and revealed that it was terminating the contracts of all the coaching staff and medical team.

The press release also recommended the employment of consultants to improve the national team's technical set-up and vowed to embark upon "a radical reconstruction of the national team", based on "well-defined technical, ethical and moral criteria".

"No place on the national team is guaranteed," the federation added. "All the places are open to competition for Malian players who wish to come and serve their country."