Mali's governing junta calls for military victory celebrations

Thursday November 16 2023
Colonel Assimi Goita

Mali's junta leader Col Assimi Goita addressing the press. PHOTO | AFP


Mali's ruling junta on Thursday called on citizens to celebrate the military's victory in Kidal, a rebel stronghold, by attending two World Cup qualifier matches, with ticket prices slashed.

A statement released by Mali's sports ministry read, "The minister invites the sporting public and the youth of Mali to a great mobilisation on November 17 and 20... to celebrate this historic victory of the armed and security forces with the Eagles of Mali" — a reference to the nation's nickname for the national football team.

Sporting authorities on Wednesday evening addressed the public on Facebook where they said the price of general admission tickets against Chad on Friday and the Central African Republic on Monday will be cut in half to 1,000 CFA francs ($1.65).

Read: Timbuktu suffocates under militia blockade, artillery fire

The games are scheduled to take place in the capital Bamako.

The announcement by Malian authorities came after the nation's military on Tuesday took the town of Kidal from predominantly Tuareg rebel groups. The strategically important northern crossroads has long been a hotbed of insurrection.


Kidal had been under the control of the rebels since they chased out the army in 2014.

Read: Former Mali rebels say they are in 'time of war' with junta

Tuesday's victory — the most notable since the ruling junta seized power in 2020 — was widely welcomed by revellers out on the streets and throughout the media.

The Malian Football Federation (MFF) announced prices would be reduced to "enable the Eagles to make a strong start" in the qualifiers, without referring to Kidal.