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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Thursday, 17 March 2011

Mali overlook Barcelona's Keita

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport

Seydou Keita of Barcelona and Mali
Keita will have to wait a little longer to make his international return

Mali coach Alain Giresse has overlooked Barcelona's Seydou Keita for this month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Zimbabwe.

The Spain-based midfielder has not played for the Eagles since the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations after taking an international break last year.

Last week, Keita announced his desire to return to the national team.

However, Giresse says he will only select the Barcelona star after meeting with him to discuss his intentions.

"After the match (on 26 March), I will go to Barcelona to go even further in talks with the player," the Frenchman said on Thursday.

"We will know after that meeting if there is any progress."

After Frederic Kanoute's retirement at the 2010 Nations Cup, Keita is Mali's most high-profile player.

Former Real Madrid star Mahamadou Diarra, who now plays for Monaco in France, does make the squad.

So too key strikers Modibo Maiga and Garra Dembele, with the latter having been handed a suspended eight-month prison sentence for drink-driving in Bulgaria last month.

Mali currently lie second in Group A of qualifying with three points, trailing leaders Cape Verde by a point.

Having lost their opener 1-0 to the islanders last September, Mali kick-started their campaign when beating Liberia 2-1 in October.

Goalkeepers: Oumar Sissoko (FC Metz, France), Soumaïla Diakite (Stade Malien), Almamy Sogoba (AS Real)

Defenders: Adama Tamboura (FC Metz), Drissa Diakite (OBC Nice, France), Idrissa Coulibaly (Al Ahly Tripoli, Libya), Cédric Kante (Panathinaïkos, Greece), Mohamed Fofana (Toulouse, France), Kalifa Cisse (Bristol City, England), Ousmane Berthe (Jomo Cosmos, South Africa)

Midfielders: Mahamadou Diarra (Monaco, France), Kalilou Traore (OB Odense, Denmark), Abdou Traore (Nice, France), Souleymane Keita (Sivasspor, Turkey), Sigamady Diarra (FC Lorient, France), Samba Sow (RC Lens, France), Ismaël Keita (FC Nantes, France), El Hadj Mahamane Traore (FC Metz)

Forwards: Sambou Yatabare (Caen, France), Modibo Maiga (FC Sochaux, France), Garra Dembele (Levski Sofia, Bulgaria), Cheick Tidiani Diabate (Bordeaux, France), Tènèma N'Diaye (FC Metz).

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see also
Barca & AC Milan earn narrow wins
07 Mar 11 |  Europe
Sidibe hit by new Achilles injury
14 Feb 11 |  Stoke
Suspended jail term for Dembele
02 Feb 11 |  African
Diarra to leave Real for Monaco
28 Jan 11 |  African
Traore agrees deal with Sion
07 Jan 11 |  African
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African

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