FIFA U-20 World Cup record
Mali will be taking part in their seventh FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. On the two occasions they managed to progress beyond the group stage, in 1999 and 2015, Les Aiglons went on to finish third. Having missed out on the last edition in Korea Republic in 2017, the Malians’ last World Cup fixture was their 2015 victory in the third-place game against a very familiar foe: Senegal.
The road to Poland
Mali will head to Poland in May as proud champions of Africa. Lead by Youssouf Koita, who was heroic in goal right through the competition, they secured the continental crown by defeating Senegal in the final (1-1, 3-2 PSO). Spot kicks were also required in their semi-final, when Nigeria were on the losing side (1-1, 4-3 PSO). During the group phase, Les Aiglons posted narrow victories over Burkina Faso (1-0) and Ghana (1-0), after starting their campaign with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of… Senegal.
After losing in the final of this competition to Nigeria in 1989 while still a player, Mamoutou Kane, or Mourle as he is known, finally got his hands on this trophy as a coach. The long road to success began in 1999, when the former Mali international keeper (10 caps) became goalkeeping coach for the senior team. After 11 years in the role, he became assistant coach for the U-20s, taking part in the 2011 World Cup in that category in Colombia. Spells in charge of prominent Malian clubs AS Real de Bamalo and Onze Createurs followed before he was finally offered the U-20 job in early 2018.
1 – Continental champions at U-17 level in 2015 and 2017, Mali came into this tournament having never claimed the African title in the next age category. All that changed on 17 February with the U-20s’ historic maiden triumph in Niger.