Sekou Chelle

Mali head coach, Sekou Chelle has revealed that he experienced a concerning health issue after his team lost a crucial match against Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The defeat, sealed by a last-minute goal from 10-man Ivory Coast, came as a shock to Mali, who had dominated the game and even held a numerical advantage in terms of players.

Despite a precise shot by Nene Dorgeles in the first half that gave Mali the lead, Ivory Coast managed to equalize in the 90th minute and eventually secured the win with a header from Diakite in extra time.

Chelle’s visible distress at the final whistle was later explained as a result of dizziness and a spike in blood pressure, which he experienced after Ivory Coast’s second goal.

“Following the second goal from the Elephants, I began to feel dizzy and my blood pressure shot up,” Chelle said. “Fortunately, a fellow Mali national poured water on my head, which helped to stabilize my blood pressure.”

Despite the unfortunate end to their AFCON journey, Mali’s overall performance filled their supporters with pride. They had topped their group and eliminated Burkina Faso in the previous round, showcasing their resilience and skill.

Looking ahead, Mali has their sights set on the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. They are set to face Ghana in June of this year, aiming to continue their impressive run and secure a spot in the prestigious tournament.