Samassa cleared to play for Mali

BAMAKO - Mali have been granted permission to play former French junior international Mamadou Samassa in Sunday's World Cup qualifier in Benin.

French-born Samassa's application for a switch in sporting nationality has been accepted by FIFA, the Mali Football Association said on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Valenciennes striker was a French under-21 international but because his parents are from Mali he is entitled to dual nationality.

Mali must win the Group D qualifier in Cotonou to keep alive their remote hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals.