Mali coach Giresse unhappy over assistant's sacking

By Martin VoglBBC Sport, Bamako
Alain Giresse
Alain Giresse is unhappy that his assistant has been replaced just four weeks before the Africa Cup of Nations starts

Mali coach Alain Giresse is unhappy with the sacking of his assistant just four weeks before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Cheick Diallo was fired by the country's football federation over the weekend and has been replaced by U23 coach Amadou Pathé Diallo.

The Frenchman says he has no idea why the change was made.

"We didn't need this so suddenly and so close to the Africa Cup of Nations," Giresse told BBC Sport.

"I don't know if there were complaints about my assistant. As far as I'm concerned, I had absolutely no complaints.

"Unfortunately the federation decided he needed to go and that's the situation I have to deal with.

"It's just another thing that destabilises and weighs down the team. It's not something we need just as we get ready for the Cup of Nations."

The sacking of Diallo came on the day when Giresse named Mali's initial 27-man squad for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The squad will be whittled down to 23 before the squad departs for the competition.

The Eagles will camp in Togo from 11 to 20 January before heading for Franceville where they will be based during the tournament.

Mali will face Ghana, Botswana and Guinea in Group D at the African Cup of Nations.