Mali coach Patrice Carteron announced a provisional 28-player squad on Thursday for the Africa Cup of Nations set to take place in South Africa from January 19 to February 10.
There were few surprises amongst the key players as the French coach expectedly named Seydou Keita, who now plays for Chinese club Aerbin Dalian, as well as Fulham’s Mahamadou Diarra, West Ham’s Modibo Maiga and Auxerre’s Adama Coulibaly.
There is also a recall for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Mohamed Lamine Sissoko who has not played for the national team since the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations before going into temporary international retirement.
French-based defender Molla Wague, who plays for Caen, is called up for the first time although Carteron will trim the squad to the final 23-player list on January 9.
The team, who finished third at the 2012 tournament, where they were beaten in the semi-finals by Ivory Coast, will begin their preparations in Bamako until January 9 before moving to their Group B base in Port Elizabeth where they are pooled with Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.
Goalkeepers: Mamadou Samassa (Guingamp/FRA), Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade Malien Bamako), Aly Yirango (Djoliba AC), Germain Berthe (Onze Createurs)
Defenders: Adama Coulibaly (Auxerre/FRA), Adama Tamboura (Randers FC/DEN), Mahamadou N’Diaye (Vitoria Guimaraes/POR), Idrissa Coulibaly (Lekihwiya/QAT), Fousseyni Diawara (Ajaccio/FRA), Ousmane Coulibaly (Brest/FRA), Molla Wague (Caen/FRA), Salif Coulibaly (Djoliba AC)
Midfielders: Seydou Keita (Aerbin Dalian/CHN), Kalilou Traore (Sochaux/FRA), Abdou Traore (Bordeaux/FRA), Mohamed Lamine Sissoko (Paris SG/FRA), Samba Sow (Lens/FRA), Mahamadou Diarra (Fulham/ENG), Mahamane Traore (Nice/FRA), Samba Diakite (Queens Park Rangers/ENG), Tongo Doumbia (Wolverhampton/ENG), Sambou Yatabare (Bastia/FRA), Sigamary Diarra (Ajaccio/FRA), Cheick Fantamady Diarra (Rennes/FRA)
Strikers: Modibo Maiga (West Ham/ENG), Cheick Tidiane Diabate (Bordeaux/FRA), Mamadou Samassa (Chievo Verona/ITA), Mustapha Yatabare (Guingamp/FRA)