Former Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has confirmed he has held talks with Mali about their vacant managerial role.
Mali’s football federation (Femafoot) is looking to fill the void created by the sacking of Mohamed Magassouba following the team’s round of 16 exit at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations and March’s 2022 World Cup play-off defeat.
Femafoot’s hierarchy are impressed by Rohr’s work across the continent, especially as coach of Nigeria, from whom he is seeking $1m compensation for unfair dismissal.
“The conversation with Mali has been very professional and respectful,” Rohr told BBC Sport Africa.
“It takes some days but nothing has been finalised. Mali has a young team with potential so it is very interesting.”
Rohr, who has previously managed Niger, Gabon and Burkina Faso, was dismissed by Nigeria in December, just four weeks before the Nations Cup in Cameroon.
The 68-year-old remains high on Mali’s list of potential candidates to replace Magassouba but he is not the only name being considered.
Former international Eric Sekou Chelle, 44, and ex-Cameroon coach Winfried Schafer, 72, who led the Indomitable Lions to the 2002 Nations Cup title, are also of interest to the Femafoot board.
After retiring in 2014, former Lens defender Chelle began his coaching career at Marseille Consolat, before managerial spells at Martigues and Boulogne, in the third and fourth tier of French football.
German Schafer, who has four decades of managerial experience across four continents, helped Cameroon to 2002 continental success and a runners-up finish at the 2003 Fifa Confederations Cup.
Mali are determined to finalise discussions and announce their new coach as soon as possible, with qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations due to start in the international window from 30 May.
Runners up in the 1972 tournament, the Eagles will face Congo, South Sudan and The Gambia in Group G.
The West Africans have also announced a friendly in the United States against World Cup-bound Ecuador on 11 June at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Hartford, Connecticut.