2026 World Cup qualifiers: Mali set to face Ghana without Abdoulaye Doucoure

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Mali is set to face Ghana in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers without Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure who has still put his international career on hold.

The Black Stars will face Mali on 5th June, 2024 in round three of the Group I qualifiers for the USA, Mexico and Canada tournament.

As things stand, Doucoure, a key figure for Everton in the English Premier League, will not be donning the Mali national team jersey against their neighbouring rivals.

The 30-year-old player, whose roots trace back to Mali, initially harbored no intentions of representing the West African nation on the international stage. However, he later came to the realization that his opportunity to compete for France had come to an end.

Subsequently, Doucoure made the pivotal decision to switch allegiances to Mali, receiving his inaugural call-up during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Tunisia while playing for the Eagles.

Following Mali's unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Doucoure opted to put his international selection on indefinite hold. In a recent interview, he affirmed his stance, indicating that he has not yet wavered in this decision.

“At the moment, I don’t think I’m going to make the Africa Nations Cup. I think I’m going to stay here in an Everton shirt”, he told The Athletic while quizzed about the 2023 AFCON.

“I don’t want to go. It’s not a big decision because I only went one time with Mali. I want to focus on my career and on the club. I have all the respect for my country, but I’m going to stay here.”
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