Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Yves Bissouma is returning to England from the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast after catching malaria. The Mali international made a substitute appearance for Mali as it lost to the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals of AFCON 2023. However, he had been playing in the tournament despite positive tests for malaria. Now, he will undergo a medical examination in north London that is standard for players returning from international duty.

Fortunately, reports indicate Bissouma is free of the disease. That indicates why he appeared in the quarterfinals with Mali on Saturday. Also, if the Spurs staff deems him fit, Bissouma could feature as soon as Saturday when Spurs plays Brighton and Hove Albion. That is a game of significance for Bissouma, as the Mali international moved to London from Brighton in the summer of 2022. Bissouma will also be eligible to play after the conclusion of his three-game suspension for a red card before he left for AFCON. He has not played for Spurs since that red card game against Nottingham Forest on Dec. 15.

Regarding the malaria diagnosis, Bissouma was not the only player in the Mali squad to test positive for the disease. Toulouse defender Moussa Diarra was an unused substitute in both of Mali’s knockout-stage games at AFCON 2023. Both have since returned to their clubs following Mali’s exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

Yves Bissouma recovers from malaria, welcome return to Spurs

Now that he is returning to fitness and availability in north London, Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou will welcome the return of his defensive midfielder. Bissouma has started every game that he has been available for with Spurs this season. Granted, he has missed a total of five games due to suspension. A lack of control has taken away from an otherwise solid season from Bissouma.

While he does not have any goal contributions, Bissouma has played a major role in Tottenham’s defensive record this season. Bissouma is able to move the ball forward from the defensive side of the field in transition.

AFCON continues into the semifinals

Mali’s run to the quarterfinals, and subsequent loss to the hosts in heartbreaking fashion to the hosts, contribute to the drama at AFCON over the last month. Even though Mali is out, its berth in the quarterfinals is the country’s best finish in the last five editions of AFCON. While Mali failed to match its third-place finishes in 2012 and 2012, the drama of AFCON will not slow down.

Nigeria is playing South Africa as it looks to win AFCON for the first time since 2013. South Africa is only in the semifinals of the tournament for the fourth time. On the other side of the bracket, the Ivory Coast is taking its flair for the dramatic into a matchup against the DR Congo. Both of those sides have won AFCON twice. However, the Ivory Coast has the benefit of its home crowd. The Ivory Coast can be the first host to win the tournament since Egypt in 2006.