Ballo (35) in action for Mali can confirm the Malian Basketball Federation has banned seven members of the country’s national men’s basketball team.

This is as a result of players protesting over unpaid bonuses during the recently ended second window of qualification on the continent to the 2023 Basketball World Cup.

Mahamadou Kante of Mali at 2021 AfroBasket qualifiers in Tunisia Photo Courtesy: FIBA

Players refused to play against Uganda and repeated the stance against Nigeria on July 1 and July 2 respectively leading to an automatic disqualification from the qualifiers.

The players affected are Ibrahim DJAMBO, Mahamadou KANTE, Ibrahima SAOUNERA, Sadio DOUCOURE, Drissa BALLO, Oumar BALLO and Ibrahim SIDIBE.

Ballo (11) Photo Courtesy: FIBA

Oumar Ballo starred at the Under 19 World Cup alongside Point Guard Siriman Kanoute as the pair led Mali to a silver medal in the tournament held in Greece. Mali lost 79-93 to USA that had present NBA players Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs.

Ballo and Kanoute were named in the Team of the Tournament; Ballo plays for University of Arizona’s Men’s Basketball Team and will compete in his third year/ Juniour year in the 2022-2023 season.

Mali competing at the 2019 U 19 World Cup Photo Courtesy: FIBA

The Federation’s statement on the issue according to ArchySports reads, ““This unprecedented act is contrary to our ancestral values ​​based on honor and dignity, on which our sporting behavior is built. No reason, however well-founded, should lead a sportsman to humiliate his country.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah

@YawMintYM on Twitter


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