IF the adage ‘the early bird catches the worm’ is anything to go by, then Mali could be on their way to Mexico. It has been confirmed that the West Africans will be the first foreign team to jet in for January’s Caf U-17 Championship.
According to the local football federation (Ferwafa) CEO Jules Kalisa, the team arrives this Wednesday, ten days before the kick-off.
“They (Mali) will have about ten days to acclimatize to Rwanda’s conditions before the tournament,” the official said.
Mali is drawn in group B alongside defending champions Gambia, Congo Brazzaville and Ivory Coast, and starts her campaign on January 9 against fellow West Africans Ivory Coast at Umuganda stadium.
They then play Gambia before winding up their group campaign against Congo Brazzaville on January 15.
In a related development, the Baby Scorpions of Gambia are in Egypt finalizing their preparations for the championship where the top four automatically qualify for the 2011 Fifa U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
Head coach Lamin Sambou is currently working with a provisional 31-man team. Gambia will open their title defense on January 9 against Congo Brazzaville.