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Africa roundup: D-day looms in tug of war over Adama Traore

Adama Traore (L) playing for Wolves against West Ham last weekend in the English Premier League.
Adama Traore (L) playing for Wolves against West Ham last weekend in the English Premier League. Justin Setterfield POOL/AFP
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Johannesburg (AFP)

D-day is looming in the tug of war between Mali and Spain for the services of pacy Wolves winger Adama Traore.

Born in Barcelona to parents from the west African country, he has been called up by Spain for a friendly and two UEFA Nations League matches and by Mali for two friendlies.

"It is up to the player to decide. I have talked to him and he wants to play for us," said Spain manager Luis Enrique.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up African team news ahead of an October 5-13 international window, which is being used to prepare for Cup of Nations qualifying next month:

Mali

Adama Traore is not the only English Premier League star Mali want with Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure also chosen by coach Mohamed Magassouba.

But Doucoure may turn down the invitation to face Ghana and Iran in Turkey as he longs for a call-up from France, where he was born to Malian parents.

Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma and Southampton forward Moussa Djenepo are other Premier League footballers in the squad.

Morocco

Madrid-born Sevilla forward Munir el Haddadi has had his wish to play for Morocco granted thanks to a tweak in the FIFA rules governing international eligibility.

After being capped once by Spain six years ago when a teenager, he can now play for the nation where his parents were born.

Morocco have lined up matches against fellow top-10 ranked teams Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo behind closed doors in Rabat because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senegal

The withdrawal of star Sadio Mane from the Senegal squad for friendlies with Morocco and Mauritania after testing positive for Covid-19 has been followed by two other drop outs.

Montreal Impact goalkeeper Clement Diop and Olympiakos defender Ousseynou Ba are injured and coach Aliou Cisse will not replace them in squad reduced to 23 players.

Senegal visit Morocco and host Mauritania as they prepare for two Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau next month.

Burkina Faso

New Aston Villa recruit Bertrand Traore and his older brother, Alain, are in the Burkina Faso squad for warm-up matches against DR Congo and Madagascar in Morocco.

Alain Traore plays for Renaissance Berkane, one of three contenders for the Moroccan league title and CAF Confederation Cup semi-finalists.

Three other unrelated Traores -- midfielder Abdou Razack, winger Eric and forward Lassina -- have also been chosen by coach Kamou Malo.

DR Congo

All three DR Congo goalkeepers in the squad picked by coach Christian Nsengi-Biembe for friendlies against Burkina Faso and Morocco are based in Switzerland.

Joel Kiassumbua plays for Servette and Timothy Fayulu for Sion in the top tier and Anthony Mossi for relegated Neuchatel Xamax.

A couple of English Premier League players were picked -- West Ham midfielder Arthur Masuaku and Fulham forward Neeskens Kebano.

South Africa

Two uncapped South Africans based in Europe -- defender Thibang Phete and forward Kurt Abrahams -- have been selected for friendlies against Namibia and Zambia in Rustenburg.

Phete is with Belenenses in Portugal and Abrahams with Westerlo in Belgium and they are among six foreign-based players in a 25-strong squad.

A surprise omission is Bradley Grobler from SuperSport United, the most prolific South African scorer in the recently concluded Premiership season.

Congo

Brazilian coach Valdo Filho does not judge a player by which level he plays, choosing five Congolese from third and fourth-tier French and Spanish clubs for a friendly with the Gambia.

Defender Hugo Konongo and midfielder Durel Avounou play in the French third division and goalkeeper Will Cesaire Matimbou in the fourth.

Defender Baron Kibamba and midfielder Junior Amour Loussoukou are with Spanish fourth tier outfits.

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