Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Yves Bissouma was playing through malaria at the Africa Cup of Nations, Mali coach Eric Chelle has revealed.
Mali's AFCON 2023 campaign ended in dramatic circumstances on Saturday as they let in a 90th minute goal to hosts Ivory Coast and then went on to concede again in the second additional minute of extra time.
Coach Chelle was inconsolable at the final whistle and Mali's players surrounded the referee in furious protests after the game.
And later, Chelle revealed that both Bissouma and defender Moussa Diarra had been suffering from malaria during the continental competition.
"You know Yves and Moussa were suffering from malaria, regarding the blood tests," Chelle told reporters.
"It’s not so serious, because someone born in West Africa is used to malaria, he could play but for Moussa it was different. It was the first time he contracted malaria, so he started some light training.
"We’ll take things carefully, but there’s no outbreak or anything."
Bissouma will now return to Tottenham and if he is given a clean bill of health, the midfielder could feature in the Premier League against his former club Brighton next weekend.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast now face DR Congo in their AFCON 2023 semi-final on Wednesday, with Nigeria to meet South Africa in the other last-four clash the same day.
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