Goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa says he declined a place in Mali’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt because coach Mohamed Magassouba “has not kept to his promise”.
The 29-year-old was reacting to claims by Magassouba that the player did not honour the call-up because he had not been given assurances of being Mali’s first choice keeper at the Nations Cup.
“I told him that no player is guaranteed a position before starting the competition,” Magassouba had told website Footmali.
Samassa, who plays in France for Troyes and was with Mali at the 2013 and 2015 Nations Cups, said he wanted to “clarify” the situation.
“I read and heard a lot of comments about my non-participation in Afcon, and through this message I wanted to clarify things,” Samassa said in a statement on social media.
“The acting coach Magassouba has not kept his promises to me. The lack of clarity and decision from the coach with respect to our last discussion a few weeks before the start of the competition led me with much regret and sadness to decline the invitation for Afcon 2019.
“When I returned to the Malian team in March 2018, Coach Magassouba clearly told me that he was counting on me for the upcoming matches and that I will have an important role to play. From then on, I made myself available to the national team,” Samassa wrote.
This season, Samassa played in a 3-0 win over South Sudan in a Nations Cup qualifier – the only 2019 Nations Cup qualifier he featured in – and he was also a substitute in a 2-1 friendly loss to Senegal.
“Although I did not play 2019 qualifying matches with the exception of the last match against Sudan, I have always been present, supportive and exemplary, without ever claiming anything.
“I have had several exchanges with the coach over the last few weeks to know what was his position regarding the goalkeeper position which is a very specific position and which requires a lot of confidence and serenity to perform in a competition as demanding as the Afcon. But he could not give me an answer.
“He has not kept to his promise. I wish good luck and a lot of success to the Malian selection of which I will be the first supporter.”
Samassa has been replaced by uncapped Ibrahim Mounkoro who is back-up to Ivory Coast keeper Sylvain Gbohouo at DR Congo’s TP Mazembe.
Mali will face Algeria in a friendly in Abu Dhabi as both sides prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off in Egypt on 21 June.
The Eagles of Mali will be in the United Arab Emirates for a training camp ahead of the continental finals.
Mali begin their Group E campaign against debutants Mauritania in Suez on 24 June before facing Tunisia four days later and finally Angola on 2 July in Ismailia.
Mali’s revised provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Djigui Diarra (Stade Malien), Ibrahim Mounkoro (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Adama Keita (Djoliba)
Defenders: Molla Wague (Nottingham Forest, England), Hamari Traore (Rennes, France), Falaye Sacko (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal), Massadio Haidara (Lens, France), Youssouf Kone (Lille, France), Mamadou Fofana (Metz, France), Boubacar Kiki Kouyate (Troyes, France)
Midfielders: Diadie Samassekou (RB Salzbourg, Austria), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig, Germany), Cheick Doucoure (Lens, France), Yves Bissouma (Brighton, England), Lassana Coulibaly (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Adama Traore (Cercle Bruges, Belgium), Souleymane Diarra (Lens, France), Idrissa Traore (Shabab Al-Jabal, Libya)
Forwards: Moussa Djenepo (Standard Liege, Belgium), Moussa Doumbia (Reims, France), Abdoulay Diaby (Sporting CP, Portugal), Moussa Marega (FC Porto, Portugal), Kalifa Coulibaly (Nantes, France), Hadi Sacko (Ankaragucu, Turkey), Adama Niane (Charleroi, Belgium), Adama Traore (Orleans, France), Sekou Koita (Wolfsberger AC, Austria)