African Cup of Nations - Sissoko back in Mali squad

Hard-tackling Momo Sissoko is set to return to Mali's national team three years after he last played international football after being named on Thursday in a provisional squad for this month's African Nations Cup.

Reuters
African Cup of Nations - Sissoko back in Mali squad
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Karim Matmour of Algeria (13) challenges Mohamed Sissoko of Mali (L) as Algeria's Hassan Yebda looks on during their African Nations Cup

Coach Patrice Carteron unveiled a strong line-up of 28 players for pre-tournament preparations, including Mahamadou Diarra of Fulham and former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita.

Samba Diakite, dropped by Queen's Park Rangers for Wednesday's 1-0 Premier League win at Chelsea, is also in the squad which will be cut to 23 next week.

Paris St Germain's Sissoko, who previously played at Liverpool and Juventus, was one of two key players who boycotted the Mali side after a disappointing 2010 African Nations Cup tournament in Angola and disagreements with federation officials.

Seydou Keita was persuaded back to the side in September 2011, going on to play a key role in taking Mali to an unexpected third place at the 2012 Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Injury thwarted hopes of a comeback by Sissoko several times last year but despite limited playing time at PSG he has won a recall for the tournament in South Africa, where Mali meet Niger first in Port Elizabeth on Jan. 20.

They also play the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana in Group B.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Germain Berthe (Onze Createur), Soumbeyla Diakite (Stade Malien), Mamadou Samassa (Guingamp, France), Aly Yirango (Djoliba AC)

Defenders: Adama Coulibaly (AJ Auxerre), Idrissa Coulibaly (Al Lekhwiya, Qatar), Ousmane Coulibaly (Stade Brest), Salif Coulibaly (Djoliba), Fousseiny Diawara (AJ Ajaccio), Mahamadou Ndiaye (Vitoria Guimaraes), Adama Tamboura (Randers, Denmark), Molla Wague (SM Caen)

Midfielders: Samba Diakite (Queen's Park Rangers), Cheick Fantamady Diarra (Stade Rennes), Mahamadou Diarra (Fulham), Sigamary Diarra (AC Ajaccio), Tongo Hamed Doumbia (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Seydou Keita (Dalian Aerbin, China), Momo Sissoko (Paris St Germain), Samba Sow (Racing Lens), Abdou Traore (Girondins Bordeaux), Kalilou Traore (Sochaux), Mahamane Traore (Nice), Sambou Yatabare (Bastia)

Forwards: Cheick Tidiane Diabate (Girondins Bordeaux), Modibo Maiga (West Ham United), Mamadou Samassa (Chievo Verona), Mustapha Yatabare (Guingamp). (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Durban; Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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