Under-20 World Cup: Mali make one change to squad





Manoutou Kane will coach Mali at the under-20 World Cup

Mali have retained 20 of the squad that won the Under-20 Africa cup of Nations for the World cup in Poland due to start on 23 May.

The only change sees defender Arnaud Konan replacing Dante Amadou in coach Mamoutou Kane’s squad.

The final 21-man squad includes eight Europe-based players with three from Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.

Mali’s final preparations for the tournament have been disrupted by visa issues.

The African champions wanted to travel to Poland early for the final phase of their preparations but have had delay their departure at least twice while all the players secure the correct visas.

Another player not in the squad is the 19-year old midfielder Cheick Doucoure, who plays for French club Lens, as he is focusing on playing for the senior team at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

“We had been relying a lot on Doucoure. We told him about our intention to take him to the Under-20 World Cup,” coach Kane said.

“But then he contacted us to tell us that he is not ready for this competition and that at the moment he focuses on the senior national team that will play the Afcon in Egypt.”

Doucoure made his senior debut for Mali against Gabon in the 2019 Africa cup of Nations qualifiers in November last year after having played at under-17 level.

Mali are in Group E at the Under-20 World Cup and will meet Panama in their opening match on 25 May before facing Saudi Arabia and France.

Mali are aiming to improve on their last Under-20 World Cup appearance in 2015 when they finished third.

They booked a place in Poland after defeating Senegal on penalties to win the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger in February.

Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa are the other other countries representing Africa in Poland.

Mali squad for Under-20 World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Alkalifa Coulibaly (Onze Createurs), Youssouf Koita (Girona FC, Spain), Souleymane Coulibaly (Afrique Foot Elite)

Defenders: Arnaud Konan (Etoiles du Mande), Drissa Diarra (AS Bamako), Fode Konate (AS Bamako), Babou Fofana (Stade Malien), Clement Kanoute (CS Duguwolofila), Abdoulaye Diaby (Antwerp, Belgium)

Midfielders: Ousmane Diakite (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Mohamed Camara (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Mamadou Traore (Stade Malien), Sambou Sissoko (USFAS), Mamadou Samake (Standard Liege, Belgium), Boubacar Traore (AS Bamako)

Forwards: Hadji Drame (Yeelen Olympique), El Bilal Toure (Afrique Foot Elite), Boubacar Konte (Sarpsborg FK, Norway), Mamady Diarra (Yeelen Olympique), Lassana N’Diaye (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Sekou Koita (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria)



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