Two former France youth stars Almamy Toure and Abdoulaye Doucoure have switched international allegiance to play for Mali and have been named in the squad for next week’s 2022 World Cup playoff against Tunisia.
Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba kept faith with most of the players he took to the recent TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon when he named his squad on Saturday.
The duo, long time targets of the Mali football authorities, were handed their debut call-ups on as they were named in the Eagles’ 28-man squad for the matches with the Carthage Eagles.
This indicates that they have finally decided to play for the country of their parents and their inclusion is a massive boost for Mali who are seeking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.
Doucoure , who plays in the midfield for English side Everton, was named by coach Mohamed Magassouba for the two matches against Tunisia to decide which country will qualify for the tournament in Qatar.
Frankfurt defender Toure also agreed to switch nationality to play for Mali despite being tipped as a huge future star for France when he played for their junior national team in 2019.
The 25-year-old, who played for the France U21 national team, will boost the Eagles squad as he has top experience after playing for French side Monaco before switching his German club.
In addition to the 29-year-old Everton midfielder, Mgassouba will count on another Doucoure, Cheikh of French side Lens, who was not part of the recent AFCON squad.
Also returning to the fold is Abdoulay Diaby after staying away from the Mali national selection for a long time.
Apart from these four players the coach invited all his top players including England-based duo of Yves Bissouma and Moussa Djénépo as well as Amadou Haidara of German side Leipzig and Diadie Samassekou.
Mali will host Tunisia in the first leg in Bamako on March 25 with the return leg scheduled for Tunisia four days later.
Goalkeepers: Ibrahim Mounkoro (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Djigui Diarra (Young Africans, Tanzania), Ismael Diawara (Malmo, Sweden).
Defenders: Sénou Coulibaly (Dijon, France), Moussa Sissako (Liège, Belgium), Mamadou Fofana (Amiens, France), Cheik Traoré (Dijon, France), Hamari Traoré (Rennes, France), Massadio Haidara (Lens, France), Amadou Danté (Sturm Graz, Austria), Kiki Kouyaté (Metz, France), Almamy Touré (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany)
Midfielders: Yves Bissouma (Brighton, England), Abdoulaye Doucouré (Everton, England), Amadou Haidara (Leipzig, Germany), Diadié Samassekou (Hoffenheim, Germany), Lassana Coulibaly (Salernitana, Italy), Cheikh Doucouré (Lens, France), Mohamed Camara (Salzburg, Austria), Aliou Dieng (Al Ahly, Egypt)
Forwards: Moussa Djénépo (Southampton, England), Moussa Doumbia (Reims, France), Ibrahima Koné (Lorient, France), Abdoulay Diaby (Al Jazira, UAE), Néné Dorgeless (SV Reid, Austria), Adama Traoré (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova) , Saliou Guindo (KF Laçi, Albania), Ibrahim Sissoko (Niort, France)