Mali’s Diabate ruled out of Cup of Nations

Mali striker Cheick Diabate requires a knee operation and will be out for four months, meaning he will miss his country’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations bid.

Diabate’s French club Bordeaux announced on Thursday that the 26-year-old agreed to undergo surgery after a consultation with a specialist in Marseille last month, accepting that it was “essential for the successful continuation of his career”.

Bordeaux’s leading scorer this season with eight league goals, Diabate, who stands at an imposing 1.94m, had been called up by Mali for the Cup of Nations, which will be held in Equatorial Guinea from 17 January to 8 February.

However, he had been complaining of recurring problems with his knee for several months and Bordeaux’s confirmation that he will miss the next four months means he will not return until the closing weeks of the season.