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Basketball - 07. March 2012.

MLI - Perrin takes women's NT reins

GENEVA (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) - Former Cameroon coach Michel Perrin is grabbing the helm of the Mali women's national team and will lead the side at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Ankara.

Perrin is succeeding Herve Coudray, whose contract finished after Mali hosted the Afrobasket Women 2011 and came in third.

The Geneva-based Frenchman is due to travel to Bamako, the capital of Mali, in the next few days to define the terms and objectives of his contract.

Perrin is the third French coach to lead Mali in four years after two of his friends, Jose Ruiz and Herve Coudray.

Ruiz coached Mali at the Beijing Olympics while Coudray led the Malians at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Czech Republic and last year.

The 50-year-old Perrin led the Cameroon women during their Afrobasket 2011 qualifying campaign.

When the opportunity to coach the African bronze medalists emerged, Perrin said to FIBA.com he found it "interesting as they have good players" and that he could "help them to improve even more."

Mali will play against Canada and France in Group D of the 12-team OQT in Turkey, with the event tipping off on the 25th of June.

Five of the teams will earn tickets to the London Games.

Perrin is familiar, he said, with the French team but still has to learn about the Canadians.

"Everything will be done at its appropriate time," he said.

"For now, I am preparing my trip to Mali to meet the federation and discuss what to do.

"I am aware that one of my challenges with the Mali national team will be to motivate players to join the team.

"I admit that we have a very athletic team and that we have some weaknesses, too.

"All this, I hope to resolve when we start the preparation."

Asked about the team's chances in the OQT, Perrin said: "It will be a really, really difficult campaign for us, but if we work well, we possibly may dream high."

As for his squad, Perrin said: "I have not met the players yet but I know who they are and I hope to convince them to join the team.

"I will be working to motivate them and support their potential."

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