Africa roundup: Blow for Mali as Traore trains with Spain

Johannesburg (AFP) – Tug-of-war forward Adama Traore from English Premier League club Wolves is training with Spain, effectively ending Malian hopes he might play for them.

The 24-year-old was born in Barcelona to parents from the west African country, making him eligible to play for either national team.

He got two call-ups last week — from Spain for fixtures against Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine and from Mali for matches against Ghana and Iran.  

Here, AFP Sport rounds up African team news ahead of an international window, which is being used to prepare for Africa Cup of Nations qualifying next month.


Having seemingly failed to convince Traore his international future lay with Mali, coach Mohamed Magassouba must also do without forward Sekou Koita for the two friendlies in Turkey.

His Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg, have quarantined the entire team after three players tested positive for coronavirus. 

Other Africans effected by the Salzburg clampdown are Zambians Patson Daka and Enoch Mwepu and Cameroonian Jerome Onguene.


Two stars of US Monastir, the surprise side of the just-completed domestic season, have been rewarded with call-ups by Tunisia for matches against Sudan and Nigeria. 

Goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said and forward Ellyes Jelassi are among seven home-based stars in a 27-man squad selected by coach Mondher Kebaier.

Monastir shocked Esperance to lift the Tunisian Cup and win their first trophy since being formed 97 years ago.


Rather than play friendly matches, Uganda will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a 10-day training camp under Irish coach Johnny McKinstry.

The getaway will serve as the Cranes’ preparations for back-to-back Cup of Nations Group B qualifiers against South Sudan.

Egypt are the only other country among the top 20 by rankings in Africa who will not be in action, preferring to complete their national championship.


Arsenal captain and former African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the star Gabon attraction when they face Benin in Lisbon.

The prolific scorer and Fulham midfielder Mario Lemina are the two Premier League player chosen by French coach Patrice Neveu. 

Aubameyang skippered hosts Gabon in the 2017 Cup of Nations tournament and they suffered a humiliating first-round exit after three draws. 


All but three of the 11 starters and three substitutes who won the 2019 Cup of Nations for Algeria have been picked for matches against Nigeria and Mexico.

The missing trio are defender Djamel Benlamri and forwards Youcef Belaili and Islam Slimani, all of whom have been inactive while involved in transfer talks.

New faces in the Desert Foxes’ squad include Portugal-based defender Abdeljalil Medioub and Bordeaux midfielder Mehdi Zerkane.


Domestic league pacesetters Azam, Simba and Young Africans supply 15 of the 25 Tanzanians chosen for a friendly in Dar es Salaam against fellow east Africans Burundi.

But the crowd pullers are two foreign-based forwards — Mbwana Samatta of Turkish club Fenerbahce and Thomas Ulimwengu from Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe. 

The match pits Burundians against each other with Etienne Ndayiragije coaching Tanzania and Jimmy Ndayizeye standing in for Burundi coach Olivier Niyungeko, who is getting married.


The Gambia squad named for matches against Congo Brazzaville and Guinea in Portugal has a strong Italian Serie A flavour.

Sampdoria defender Omar Colley was called up along with forwards Musa Barrow and Musa Juwara from Bologna and Ebrima Colley from Atalanta.

Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet also included Cody Drameh, a young full-back who joined Leeds United two months ago from fellow Premier League outfit Fulham.

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