BAMAKO (FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017) - Mali head coach Kaba Kante selected nine players from the FIBA U18 Africa Championship 2016 team that helped the country qualify for their first FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup since 2007.
Mali's leading scorer last summer was Ousmane Traore with 13.9 points a game and he is back with the team as is Blaise Keita, who was the third-leading scorer and second-best rebounder. Sekou Dembele topped the team in rebounds while Lassana Haidara dished out the most assists on the team.
Added to that group are three players who will be making their national team debuts in Mahamoud Balayira, Martin Diakite and Oumar Drame - the latter joining Haidara, Keita and Sissoko as bottom level players being born in 1999.
Diakite meanwhile was born in 2000 and has dual citizenship from France and Mali. He plays with the French academy Hermine in Nantes and first tried out for the Mali national team during the Christmas break last winter and made Kante's team for Cairo.