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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 14:38 GMT
Kanoute named in Mali squad
Frederic Kanoute
Kanoute was born in France but has Malian parents
Mali have named Tottenham striker Frederic Kanoute as one of the 32 players in their preliminary squad for the 2004 African Cup of Nations.

26-year-old Kanoute has never won a full cap for Mali, but did feature for them in an unofficial friendly in 1998.

He has also played for France's Under-21 team, but having never won a full cap he is allowed to switch to Mali, the country of his parents.

Mali have recently been stepping up their efforts to persuade the striker to play for them, with coach Henri Stambouli speaking to him in October.

At the time, Stambouli said he was in a "good position" with regard to getting Kanoute to say yes - although Kanoute subsequently denied this.

However, even if Kanoute did decide to accept the call-up, it is doubtful as to whether Tottenham would be willing to let him go.

Several Premiership managers have already expressed reservations about their players being called up for the tournament, with Bolton's Sam Allardyce asking Nigerian star Jay-Jay Okocha to retire from international football rather than lose him for the competition.

Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley has similarly asked defender Mark Fish to turn down his shock selection for South Africa three years after he won his last cap.

Another name likely to disappear from Mali's final 22 is Bastia midfielder Alou Diarra.

Like Kanoute, Diarra has played for the French Under-21 team and is more likely to be pinning his international hopes on them.

Mali are in Group B - along with Burkina Faso, Kenya and Senegal - at the Nations Cup finals, which start on 24 January.

Mali preliminary squad for the 2004 Nations Cup:

Goalkeepers: Cheick Oumar Bathily (Djoliba), Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade Malien), Mahamadou Sidibe (Aegalo, Greece), Fousseiny Tangara (Mantes 78, France)

Defenders: Ibrahima Abba Kone (Jeanne d'Arc, Senegal) Adama Coulibaly (Lens, France), Souleymane Diamoutene (Perugia, Italy), Boubacar Diarra (Freiburg, Germany), Fousseiny Diawara (Laval, France), Vincent Doukantie, Cedric Kante (Strasbourg, France), Ibrahim Thiam (Istres, France), Mamary Traore (Grenoble, France), Sammy Traore (Nice, France)

Midfielders: David Coulibaly (Chateauroux, France), Soumaila Coulibaly (Freiburg, Germany), Alou Diarra (Bastia, France), Mahamadou Diarra (Lyon, France), Seydou Keita (Lens, France), Djibril Sidibe ((Chateauroux, France), Mohamed Lamine Sissoko (Valencia, Spain), Bassala Toure (Athinaikos, Greece), Alassane Toure (FC Schaffhausen, Switzerland)

Strikers: Sedonoude Janvier Abouta (Djoliba), Mamadou Bagayoko (Ajaccio, France), Dramane Coulibaly (Laval), Abdoulaye Demba (Eendracht Aalst, Belgium), Moussa Diabate (Mulhouse, France), Mahamadou Dissa (Brest, France), Frederic Kanoute (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Mamadi Sidibe (Gillingham, England), Dramane Traore (Ismaili, Egypt).

Kanoute considers Mali career
09 Oct 03  |  African

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