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By ESPN Staff
Jan 3, 2008

Kanoute leads Mali squad for African Nations Cup

BAMAKO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Mali have called up three locally-based players in their final 23-man squad for this month's African Nations Cup finals, the Mali Football federation announced on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Soumbeyla Diakite from Stade Malien and the Djoliba pair of Souleymane Dembele and Amadou Sidibe were added by coach Jean Francois Jodar after failing to make a preliminary list of 28 last month.

All three have previously been capped by Mali at full international level.

The squad is dominated by the Spanish-based trio of Frederic Kanoute, Seydou Keita and Real Madrid's Mahamadou Diarra. Sevilla striker Kanoute is one of the five candidates for the African Footballer of the Year award, to be announced on Feb. 1.

Jodar has recalled AJ Auxerre defender Sammy Traore, whose last game for Mali was in October 2006

Mali, who have been drawn in Group B with Benin, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, start a training camp in the United Arab Emirates on Monday. They play Egypt in a friendly there on Jan. 10 and Iran three days later, the football federation said.

Mali's opening game at the Nations Cup finals in Ghana is against fellow West Africans Benin in Sekondi on Jan. 21.

Goalkeepers: Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade Malien), Mahamadou Sidibe (PAS Giannina, Greece), Oumar Sissoko (Metz)

Defenders: Adama Coulibaly (Lens), Moussa Coulibaly (Mouloudia Alger), Souleymane Diamoutene (Lecce), Cedric Kante (Nice), Boubacar Sidiki Kone (Maghreb Fes), Amadou Sidibe (Djoliba), Adama Tamboura (Helsingborg), Sammy Traore (AJ Auxerre)

Midfielders: Souleymane Dembele (Djoliba), Drissa Diakite (Nice), Mahamadou Diarra (Real Madrid), Seydou Keita (Sevilla), Djibril Sidibe (Chateauroux), Momo Sissoko (Liverpool), Bassala Toure (Levadiakos, Greece)

Forwards: Mamadou Diallo (Qatar SC), Mahamadou Dissa (Roeselare, Belgium), Frederic Kanoute (Sevilla), Mamady Sidibe (Stoke City), Dramane Traore (Lokomotiv Moscow).