Mali national team head coach Eric Sekou Chelle says the country could take a legal action against Italian side Atalanta BC for El Bilal Toure’s absence in the upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The 22-year old forward picked up an injury during a pre-season friendly with his club and had to undergo a surgery in September.
So far, he is yet to make his comeback on the pitch with Atalanta even though he is ready to play according to his national team coach.
As a result, El Bilal Toure is ruled out of AFCON 2023 with Mali and Eric Sekou Chelle believes Atalanta just don’t want to let the player for his national team as he says he is ready.
“I am hugely disappointed with the way Atalanta Bergamo proceeded. We have had no feedback, neither me nor the (selection) doctor for a good month. Between us, I hoped that El Bilal would be with us. Because the truth is that he is ready, not necessarily for the first match but he is ready. They (Atalanta) are doing everything to prevent him from resuming collective training and they have abandoned us. I am hugely disappointed”, Chelle said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“I reserve the right with my federation to take a legal action because it doesn’t work like that. There is a dialogue. I don’t know about my predecessors or those who will follow me, but since I arrived, I have maintained a constant dialogue with the clubs. When they ask me for a return on such and such a date, they have this return on such and such a date. When they ask me for physical feedback, they get everything on time. I was just asking for information, a well-established protocol with a schedule: whether to wait for the second, third or fourth match and then I make my choices. Today I am extremely disappointed and slightly angry at the lack of respect towards my staff, my team, and my country. “