Fresh from their triumph at the Total Africa U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger, the jubilant Malian team received a red carpet reception upon arrival back home.
‘Les Aiglons’ beat Senegal 3-2 on penalties in the final on Sunday in Niamey, to register their first success at this level. The feat served a happy home-coming for the Malians, who won the U-17 African title at the same venue in 2015.
Upon arrival at the Modibo Kéita Sénou International Airport in Bamako on Monday, (February 18, 2019) via a chartered-plane, the team was warmly welcomed following their historic feat few hours earlier, moments after touching down at 4:45 pm local time.
Captain Aboubacar Clement Kanoute was the first person to come out from the aircraft, holding aloft the trophy to the delight of the thousands of supporters who had travelled from far and near to welcome the victorious team.
The team was met on arrival by Government Officials, members of the Normalisation Committee led by chairperson Fatoumata Guindo as well as members of the civil society.
The players were surrounded by scores of fans who had waited anxiously, and chanted victory songs as the festivities reached fever-pitch.
At the Arrival Hall, they were escorted by security personnel whilst a section of the fans and beloved ones queued for autographs and photos with their favourite players.
The team then headed for the Mamadou Konate Stadium, Kouluba District of the capital Bamako, where over 8000 persons from all walks of life had gathered to receive and celebrate the heroes from Niger.
Champions Mai, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria will represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland from 23 May to 15 June.