Mali make two changes to Nations Cup squad

Mali have made two changes to their Africa Cup of Nations finals squad, bringing in defender Ousmane Berthe and midfielder Souleymane Keita ahead of their opening Group D match against Guinea in Gabon on Tuesday.

A thigh strain suffered by Toulouse defender Mohamed Fofana in a training match on Sunday will not heal in time while Danish-based midfielder Khalilou Traore is out with injury, officials said on Friday.

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Berthe, who played at the last tournament in Angola, is brought in to replace Fofana while Keita of Turkish club Sivasspor returns to the squad in place of Traore.

Both Berthe and Keita had been in the preliminary squad selected for the tournament but were cut last week when Mali submitted their 23-man list.

Teams are allowed to replace injured players before the opening match of the affected side, according to competition regulations.

Mali have already been hit by injury in recent months with the AJ Auxerre defensive pair of Amadou Sidibe and Adama Coulibaly sidelined.

Botswana, Ghana and Guinea are also in Group D. Mali's opening game against Guinea is in Franceville, Gabon.