SINAN RAJUB SENOGA
Mali head coach Mohamed Magassouba has named a list of 28 players that will face Rwanda and Uganda in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers early next month.
Mali will host Rwanda on September 1st in Morocco before facing Uganda on September 6th at the St. Mary’s Stadium in Kitende.
Magassouba will once again have his side play without Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma and former Porto striker Moussa Marega.
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Both players have missed Mali’s previous engagements for personal reasons.
Despite being regarded as one of the best central midfielders in the English Premier League, Bissouma has not played for Mali since 2018 in an AFCON qualifier against Burundi.
The Brighton midfielder has recently come out to say he has continuously turned down playing for the national team after he lost trust in his nation’s Football Federation when he nearly died during a shoulder injury operation.
“People speak a lot about me, but they don’t know what they are talking about,” Bissouma said as per The Sun.
“I came within a whisker of dying on my hospital bed. I remember I was supposed to wake up two hours after an operation on my shoulder. However, it took me 13 hours before I came round.”
“Afterwards, my family never even wished me a speedy recovery. Now they want me to return to the national side but it doesn’t work like that.”
Bissouma claimed that Magassouba, the Mali head coach, has continued to call him up for national duty in order to taint his image.
“After my operation, I worked like a madman to come back stronger. I have nothing against Mohamed Magassouba. But my agent rang him many times to discuss my return to the national side, and he never replied.
“He wants the public to turn against me. That is why he kept on selecting me, knowing full well I couldn’t play as I had complications after my operation.”
Bissouma has previously played for Mali on 19 occasions and scored against Uganda in a 1-1 draw in the 2017 AFCON.
Marega, who is currently at Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, has scored three goals in 25 appearances for the Eagles of Mali and represented his nation at the last two AFCON tournaments.
However, Magassouba will rely on Diadie Samassekou, Amadou Haidara, Kiki Kouyate, Hamari Traore, Moussa Doumbia, El Bilal Toure and Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo.
He has named the French grown trio of Lassine Sinayoko, Mohamadou Doucouré, and Mahame Siby as one of the four new faces. Sweden based goalkeeper Ismael Diawara (Malmo FK) has also been included in the team for the first time.
The Mali Squad
Goalkeepers : Djigui Diarra (Young Africans, Tanzania), Bossi Ibrahim (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Mohamed Niaré (Stade Malien, Mali), Ismael Diawara (FK Malmo, Sweden)
Defenders : Hamari Traoré (Stade Rennes, France), Falaye Sacko (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Charles Traoré (FC Nantes, France), Mamadou Fofana (Amiens, France), Boubacar Kiki Kouyaté (Metz, France), Senou Coulibaly (Dijon, France), Ibrahim Kane (Vorskla, Ukraine)
Midfielders : Mahame Siby (Strasbourg, France), Diadié Samassekou (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany), Lassana Coulibaly (Salernitana, Italy), Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly, Egypt), Mohamed Camara (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Cheick Doucouré (RC Lens, France), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig, Germany), Adama Traoré (Hatayspor, Turkey), Kouame N’guessan (Troyes, France)
Forwards : Moussa Djenepo (Southampton, England), Adama Traoré “Malouda” (Sheriff Tiraspol), Moussa Doumbia (Reims, France), El Bilal Touré (Reims, France), Ibrahim Kone (Sarspborg, Norway), Mahamadou Doucouré (Nimes, France), Lassine Sinayoko (AJ Auxerre), Hamidou Sinayoko (11 Createurs, Mali)