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By ESPN Staff

Jodar signs four-year contract as Mali coach

BAMAKO, July 10 (Reuters) - Frenchman Jean-Francois Jodar has signed a four-year contract to take charge of Mali's national team, the country's football federation said on Monday.

Mali Football Federation said the 56-year-old coach, who won the World Under-17 Championship with France in 2001, would be assisted by fellow former French international Yannick Stopyra.

Jodar previously worked as national coach of the United Arab Emirates.

Mali begin their bid for a place at the 2008 African Nations Cup finals in early September when they meet Sierra Leone away in their opening qualifying group match.

Mali were semi-finalists at the 2002 and 2004 Nations Cup finals but failed to qualify for the 2006 finals in Egypt. They have never qualified for the World Cup finals.