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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Keita takes up Malian challenge
By Tiego Tiemtore
BBC Sport

Mali legend Salif Keita
Salif Keita is the new president of the Mali Football Federation

Legend Salif Keita is the new president of the Mali Football Federation (FMF).

Keita was one of Africa's first football superstars, joining St Etienne in France in 1967.

In 1970, he became the first African Player of the Year - an honour bestowed by France Football magazine.

Keita was elected president in the early hours of Monday after a marathon congress of Mali's football authorities.

He replaces Tidiane Niambélé, who resigned from the post just before the congress, citing the Eagles' poor performances in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Keita beat Moussa Konate, the chairman of division one Club Olympique de Bamako, by 17 votes to 6.

"It's a choice that the circumstances imposed on me," Keita told BBC Sport.

"Everybody knows that our football is going through a very difficult period, which leaves every Malian troubled, especially someone who has devoted his whole life to football like me.

"I'll give our football measurable results in four years. A comprehensive management manual will be worked out soon.

"I intend to boost our women's and men's teams, and get our senior Eagles to the 2008 African Nations Cup."

Keita's distinguished career in European club football also included stints at Olympique Marseille in France, Spain's Valencia and Sporting Lisbon of Portugal.

He returned to Mali in 1986 to establish a football academy, which has produced several young stars, including Keita's nephew Seydou and Adama Coulibaly, who both play for Lens in France.

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