The French national team has never had a shortage of talent with current starters such as N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba and upcoming young players like Aurelian Tchouameni.
But the high competition for the national team spots has left many players on the fringes and it looks like the Malian federation are here to throw them a lifeline for a chance to play at the World Cup.
In the past, Mali have kept a track of players of Malian descent struggling to break through the national teams of a highly competitive European nation and have tried to tap into this pool of talent.
Before finally making his debut for Spain for Euro 2020, then Wolves speedster Adama Traore had an offer waiting from the Malian federation to play for them and was very close to joining and enabling the African side to field 5 Traore’s in the same line-up.
Continuing with their recruitment plan, the Malian federation have zeroed in on another Premier League star in Abdoulaye Doucouré and have successfully got him to change allegiances ahead of their key WC playoff games.
Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure will represent 🇲🇱 Mali at international level— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) February 23, 2022
The former France U21 international could start as early as the World Cup play-offs vs 🇹🇳 Tunisia [@AiglesDuMali_]
A Bissouma, Docoure, Haidara midfield trio 🔜🇲🇱 pic.twitter.com/2ROb0UYUS9
After having rejected the invitation from the Malian federation in 2019, the midfielder has changed his mind and will now be playing for them and would be targeting WC qualification with a win against Tunisia.
While they have recruited one big fish from the Premier League, the Malian federation are not looking to stop there as they are also rumoured to be working on convincing another PL star in Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate who like Doucouré is being kept out of the France squad due to the ridiculous abundance of talent available.
Mali has gotten Abdoulaye Doucoure to switch nationality. Such a massive capture.— Saddick Adams (@SaddickAdams) February 23, 2022
They’re now working on striker Moussa Dembele and Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate.
Will be an interesting blend if they succeed.
With the closest Mali have been to a major international honour being a runner’s up finish in the African Cup of Nations in 1972, the nation will now be aiming to achieve the big dream of a maiden World Cup qualification.
If they are successful in recruiting more big names such as Doucouré, then that dream could soon be realized, maybe even as early as the 2022 World Cup.
Whether they qualify or not, the Malian federation are surely building a scary team that no country would want to face –
🇲🇱 Mali’s national team about to look very scary if they come to agreement with Moussa Dembélé, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Ibrahima Konaté. You could even argue that Doucouré would be out of the starting XI, considering the options they have in midfield. pic.twitter.com/nFMEhm9WbT— Benjamin Hajji (@BenjaHajji) February 16, 2022