Beware of anyone who is damaging Mali’s image on the international scene at the moment. However, the Malian Basketball Federation considers that seven members of the senior men’s national team have just “humiliated their country”. If the untimely strikes of sportsmen are commonplace in African sport, the pill, this time, did not pass… Dated last July 5, a letter from the national authorities gives its version of Mali’s participation in the third window of the playoffs the Africa Zone World Cup, qualifier for Afro Basket 2023.
It is aimed at basketball players selected for the national team Ibrahim Djambo, Mahamadou Kanté, Ibrahima Saounera, Sadio Doucouré, Drissa Ballo, Oumar Ballo and Ibrahim Sidibé. Without going back to the substance of the original conflict, contenting himself with evoking “assurances given by the Ministry in charge of Sports through the federal office”, the president of the federation reminds the recipients that they refused to “present themselves on the ‘playground to play the first two matches’, on July 1 and 2, 2022. He points out that Mali subsequently lost its first two matches by default and was therefore “disqualified from the competition, eliminated from the world 2023 men’s seniors, notwithstanding any sanctions” of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba).
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The rest of the letter does not go with the back of the spoon, nor in the qualification of the striker’s behavior, nor in the course of the sanctions. Contrary to “values ancestral based on honor and dignity”, the posture of the players would be a “resentment to humiliate” the country, by the absence on the ground but also via social networks. The seven athletes concerned are removed “from any activity” related to the discipline in Mali and the federation “will seize Fiba for possible following the inconvenience and damage caused to the organizers of the competition and to the image of the discipline”.
In addition, the striking basketball players are attacked in the portfolio, the federal office asking the Minister of Sports to “compensate for the costs incurred for Mali’s participation in this competition by deducting them individually from the bonuses of these players”. Bonuses, the non-payment of which would have been the cause of the discontent… The snake is biting its tail.
Nevertheless, these athletes will have escaped the fate of the Ivorian footballers sentenced, in 2000 and under another junta, to a military course of patriotic education for poor performance in the African Cup. of the nations.