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Doucoure to play for Mali in World Cup playoffs

Doucoure to play for Mali in World Cup playoffs

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Norwich City - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - Sep 25, 2021. Everton's Abdoulaye Doucoure acknowledges the fans after the match. Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

BAMAKO: Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has pledged his international future to Mali and arrived in Bamako to play in Friday’s World Cup playoff first leg against Tunisia, the country’s football federation said on Tuesday (Mar 22).

The 29-year-old won caps for France at junior level but has switch allegiance three years after Mali first approached him to play for them.

He had previously said he was hoping to break into the French national team but agreed a change after talks with the Mali federation last month.

Mali have also persuaded Almamy Toure, another French-born former junior international, to commit his international future to their cause. The 25-year-old defender plays for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Mali, after a disappointing last-16 exit at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in January, have also been strengthened by the return of Cheick Doucoure, from Racing Lens in Ligue 1, and former captain Abdoulay Diaby, who last played for the team in 2019.

Mali, who have never qualified for the World Cup, host Tunisia at the March 26 Stadium and travel to Tunisia for the return leg next Tuesday.

Source: Reuters/fh

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