Kanoute wants to play for Mali at the forthcoming Nations Cup finals
English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur have asked Fifa for confirmation that Frederic Kanoute can play for Mali in the African Nations Cup finals.
Although Kanoute has played for the French Under-21 team, he wants to line up for the Eagles at Tunisia 2004.
A new Fifa rule allows players to switch countries if they have not played full internationals.
"We are awaiting confirmation from Fifa that he is eligible to play for Mali," said Tottenham manager David Pleat.
"There must be all sorts going on in Freddie's mind and I try to see all sides of all problems.
"Do you know the population of Mali? Neither do any of my players. I am sure the population of Mali is looking forward to the African games and I don't know whether their squad has been mentioned in the papers and they are anticipating him.
"But it is a unique problem. It is not like Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha or Kanu at Arsenal.
"He was always Nigerian and when Arsene signed him, he knew what he was signing and that he knew he would be away.
"But we will know a lot more about the situation in the next couple of days," Pleat admitted.
Kanoute, whose parents come originally from Mali, has yet to play for the west African nation.
Tottenham are desperate not to lose their US $6.5m top scorer to a competition which starts on 24 January and ends on 14 February.
Mali will play in Group B of the competition alongside Kenya, Senegal and Burkina Faso.