Keita included in Mali preliminary squad

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Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita's much-anticipated rehabilitation in Mali's national team has been completed with his inclusion in the preliminary squad for the African Nations Cup finals.

Keita's clashes with officials over conditions around the side, plus his desire to concentrate on his club career, threatened his international career and led to a 20-month hiatus from the international game after the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola.

He was persuaded back after discussions with coach Alain Giresse in time to help Mali qualify for the 2012 finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and has featured in three games since September.

The 27-strong squad announced by the Mali Football Federation will prepare for the Nations Cup in Togo from January 11-20 before heading to Gabon where they play in Group D against Botswana, Ghana and Guinea.

It will be cut to 23 players next week.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade Malien), Oumar Sissoko (Metz), Alimamy Sogoba (Real Bamako)

Defenders: Ousmane Berthe (Jomo Cosmos), Idrissa Coulibaly (Esperance), Ousmane Coulibaly (Stade Brest), Drissa Diakite (Nice), Mohamed Fofana (Toulouse), Cedric Kante (Panathinakos), Abdoulaye Maiga (USM Alger), Mouhamadou Ndiaye (Vitoria Guimaraes), Amadou Sidibe (AJ Auxerre), Adama Tamboura (Metz)

Midfielders: Samba Diakite (Nancy), Cheick Fatamady Diarra (Stade Rennes), Seydou Keita (Barcelona), Souleymane Keita (Sivasspor), Sidi Kone (Olympique Lyon), Samba Sow (Racing Lens) Abdou Traore (Girondins Bordeaux), Bakaye Traore (Nancy), Kalilou Traore (OB Odense), Mahamane Traore (Metz)

Forwards: Garra Dembele (SC Freiburg), Cheick Tidiane Diabate (Girondins Bordeaux), Modibo Maiga (Sochaux), Mustapha Yatabare (En Avant Guingamp).