Former West Ham and Tottenham star Freddie Kanoute has been lined up to become the new boss of Mali.
The striker scored 23 goals in 39 Eagles appearances between 2004 and 2010 and is currently taking coaching courses – but has never managed before.
Mali FA chiefs have now earmarked Kanoute, 39, as a potential successor to Alain Giresse, who is expected to step down following the team’s first-round flop at the African Nations Cup.
They desperately need belief back in the country’s national team having failed on the recent international stage, and see the talisman as the perfect man to be in charge.
A source in the west African country said: “Frederic Kanoute is a serious option to succeed Giresse. He will complete his coaching diplomas in a month.”
Mali FA president Boubacar Baba Diarra said: “Giresse’s contract runs until this November, but it is based on objectives.
“It can be broken when the two parties are not in agreement. The easiest thing for us would be for Giresse to resign.”
France-born Kanoute joined West Ham from Lyon in 2000, then hit 29 goals in 84 games before moving across London in 2003.
He infuriated White Hart Lane chiefs when seeking to win a call-up for his parents’ home country, with then boss David Pleat believing Kanoute was ineligible after playing for France’s Under-21s.
But he went to the 2004 AFCON tournament whjere he became joint top goal scorer for Mali, scoring four goals in four matches helping Mali to the semi-finals, where they lost to Morocco.
He struck 15 times in 60 Spurs appearances, then joined Sevilla in 2005 for a seven-year stint before ending his playing career with Chinese club Beijing Guoan.
Kanoute won both the UEFA Cup and Copa del Rey twice while at Sevilla, and was named African Footballer of the Year in 2007.
Credit: The Sun