Mali had to deal with Tottenham midfielder Yves Bissouma and Toulouse defender Moussa Diarra both contracting Malaria during their run to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals
Tottenham star Yves Bissouma carried on playing for Mali despite contracting malaria during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bissouma, 27, and one of his teammates – Toulouse defender Moussa Diarra – both tested positive for the disease during their country’s run to the quarter-finals which came to an end on Saturday. Mali suffered an agonising defeat when they faced hosts Ivory Coast in the last eight, losing 2-1 after conceding a 122nd-minute goal.
The Eagles had already been pegged back in the 90th minute by a strike from Brighton winger Simon Adingra before Reims forward Oumar Diakite gave 10-man Ivory Coast an extra-time victory. It brought to end an impressive campaign from Mali, who had to deal with Bissouma and Diarra’s illnesses.
Manager Eric Chelle was asked about the situation and revealed: “Yves and Moussa were suffering from malaria. Regarding the blood tests, it’s not so serious because someone born in West Africa is used to malaria, [Yves] could play but for Moussa it was different.
“It was the first time he contracted malaria, so he started some light training but we’ll take things carefully, but there’s no outbreak or anything.”
While Diarra was an unused substitute against the Ivory Coast – who ended the game with nine men – Bissouma came off the bench in the second half of extra-time for Mali, who were eventually reduced to 10 men themselves following a late flare-up. Chelle’s men would’ve played DR Congo in the semi-finals on Wednesday, with a chance to face Nigeria or South Africa in next Sunday’s final.
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Tottenham will now need to assess Bissouma’s health before he returns to domestic action, with Spurs hosting the 27-year-old’s former team, Brighton, next weekend. Ange Postecoglou’s side were pegged back twice by Everton on Saturday and came away from Goodison Park with a 2-2 draw after Jarrad Branthwaite’s dramatic 94th-minute equaliser.
“In the first half we started the game really well but lost a bit of our composure to keep the ball a bit better,” Postecolgou admitted. “The second half I thought was okay, we created some good chances but probably needed a third just to kill the game off because you know what’s going to happen in the last 10 minutes and I’m really disappointed to then concede so late.”
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