BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali named the English Premier League pair of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Adama Traore for friendlies in Turkey next week but their inclusion in a 31-man squad looks to be more in hope than anything else.
Everton midfielder Doucoure, born in France to Malian parents, is a former French junior international who earlier this year said he was hoping to earn a call up from Didier Deschamps to the France senior squad.
Wolverhampton Wanderers powerhouse Traore was born in Spain, has played for their under-21 team and twice been called up to the senior side.
But last November he had to withdraw with injury and last month pulled out of the squad for the Nations League matches against Germany and Ukraine after testing positive for COVID-19.
Traore, whose parents also hail from Mali, is expected to be named later this week when Spain announce their latest squad for a friendly against Portugal on Oct. 7 and two Nations League clashes against Switzerland on Oct. 10 and Ukraine on Oct. 13.
In theory, both Doucoure and Traore could yet turn out for Mali because they have not been capped at senior level. But the call-up for matches against Ghana on Oct. 9 and Iran on Oct. 13 in Turkey is a surprise, made without explanation in a news release on Tuesday.
There have been several cases recently of African countries calling up high profile European-based players, who have dual nationality, without prior consultation and then being embarrassed when they have failed to turn up.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)