Mali sweat on Yatabare, Traore fitness

Mali are sweating on the fitness of Guingamp striker Mustapha Yatabare and Metz midfielder Mahamane Traore for their opening CAF Africa Cup of Nations Group D match against Guinea. Neither player took part in the team'’s first training session at the Bongoville Stadium yesterday evening with officials insisting they have only picked up minor knocks and are not ruled out of the opening game on Tuesday.

"They are not nursing any major injuries, they are just knocks they picked up and they will be okay," said a team official. The 23-year-old Traore holds over a score of caps and is one of the most experienced players in a relatively youthful Mali squad for this competition.

Mali have already been forced to make two late changes to their final squad for the tournament. Toulouse defender Mohamed Fofana has been dropped after he suffered a thigh strain, while Denmark-based Khalilou Traore has also been replaced due to injury.