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Diarra to miss African Nations Cup

Mali midfielder Mahamadou Diarra has been ruled out of the African Nations Cup through injury.

• Blog: Introducing yor ANC hosts...

The 31-year-old has not played since sustaining a knee injury while playing for Fulham in their 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of December, but was still set to be called up by the Eagles for this month's tournament in South Africa.

However, after consultation with Fulham's medical team, Mali have decided against selecting their former captain for the squad, and Diarra will now continue his rehabilitation in London.

Mali kick off their campaign against Niger in Port Elizabeth on January 20, before facing four-time champions Ghana and DR Congo - winners in 1968 and 1974 - in their other Group B fixtures.

Mali finished third in last year's tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, beating Ghana 2-0 in the third-place play-off after losing to Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.

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