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Mali Coach On Bissouma And Malaria Concerns in Camp

Mali head coach Éric Chelle says there are no concerns over Yves Bissouma and Moussa Diarra who contracted malaria ahead of the Bafana Bafana win.

Despite realising Bissouma had contracted the mosquito-borne disease, common in West and East Africa – the Tottenham midfielder managed to last just under an hour.

Meanwhile, Diarra didn’t feature in the 2-0 win where captain Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko found the net to take an early advantage of Group E.

“You know Yves and Moussa were suffering from Malaria, regarding the blood tests, it’s not so serious, because someone born in West Africa is used to malaria, he could play but for Moussa it was different,” Chelle said ahead of facing Tunisia on Saturday.

“It was the first time he contracted Malaria, so he started some light training but we’ll take things carefully, but there’s no outbreak or anything, none of the coaches have it as you may have read in the press.”

Yves Bissouma of Mali warming up during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Mali and South Africa at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on 16 January 2024 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Abidjan-born former Mali international went on to state that despite the North Africans being in disarray, with their Football Association President jailed and reports of unrest within the camp – they cannot be taken lightly.

“Tunisia is a good team with experienced players and quality technical team, hard-working players and staff, they analyse teams well,” he explained.

“We’re awaiting a team with high quality with rich history, and always dangerous when on the backfoot, we have a good team to play against but we’re working very hard. We have a good opportunity to get out of this group.

“We had some positives and negatives [against Bafana] and now working tp fix these things going into Tunisia.

“Their injuries aren’t an ad advantage, it’s a big team that can adapt, a good system that allows them to be flexible, as my player said, we want to make a point, we’ll see how the match goes, Khazri is a good player to miss but the players who replace him will be good.”

The two sides meet at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium at 22h00 on Saturday.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.