Cape Town - Metz forward Modibo Maiga has surprisingly been named in Mali's 23-man squad for the African Nations Cup finals in Equatorial Guinea after missing the entire qualification campaign.
The 27-year-old, on loan in Ligue 1 from West Ham United, has not played for his national team in over a year and will not have fond memories of the Nations Cup finals after contracting malaria at the 2012 tournament that was co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Coach Henryk Kasperczak provided few other surprises in his squad, with Bordeaux midfielder Abdou Traore also returning after more than a year out of the national team.
Ajaccio goalkeeper Oumar Sissoko can perhaps feel the most aggrieved at missing out, with N'Tji Michel Samake from local side Duguwolofila Mali preferred despite not appearing on the preliminary list of 35 players announced by Kasperczak last week.
The team will be captained by veteran Roma midfielder Seydou Keita and also includes Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Bakary Sako.
Mali, who have finished third at the last two continental finals, have been drawn in a difficult Group D along with Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Guinea in the Jan. 17-Feb. 8 tournament.
Goalkeepers: Soumaïla Diakite (Esteghlal Khuzestan), Germain Berthe (Eleven Creators) N'Tji Michel Samake (CS Duguwolofila Mali)
Defenders: Drissa Diakite (Bastia), Fousseyni Diawara (Tours), Molla Wague (Udinese), Ousmane Coulibaly (Platanias), Adama Tamboura (Randers), Idrissa Coulibaly (Hassania Agadir), Salif Coulibaly (TP Mazembe), Mohamed Konate (Renaissance Berkane)
Midfielders: Seydou Keita (Roma), Tongo Hamed Doumbia (Toulouse), Yacouba Sylla (Erciyesspor), Mamoutou N'Diaye (Zulte Waregem), Abdou Traore (Bordeaux), Sigamary Diarra (Valenciennes)
Forwards: Cheick Tidiane Diabate (Bordeaux), Bakary Sako (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Mustapha Yatabare (Trabzonspor), Sambou Yattabare (Guingamp), Abdoulaye Diaby (Mouscron), Modibo Maiga (Metz)