Keita set for first Mali match since 2010 Nations Cup

Keita
Keita has finally come in from the cold for Mali, having been absent since the Eagles exited the Nations Cup in January 2010

Barcelona's Seydou Keita has been recalled to the Mali squad for the first time since January 2010.

After last year's Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola, the midfield star, 27, took a break from the international game.

However, coach Alain Giresse failed to select the Barca star even though he expressed a desire to return in March.

Now Keita is in line to play at home to Cape Verde in next month's crucial 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The islanders currently top Group A with seven points, one more than the Eagles with just two rounds of matches left.

Both Zimbabwe and Liberia, who make up the group, still have dreams of qualifying for next January's finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

The final round of games in October sees Mali travel to Liberia while Cape Verde will host Zimbabwe.

In Bamako, the BBC's Baba Cissouma says that Giresse selected Keita after overwhelming pressure from Malians nationwide.

The Frenchman's failure to hold a press conference meant there were no explanations as to why he recalled Keita while leaving out other major players.

No place in the Eagles squad was found for former Real Madrid star Mahamadou Diarra, now with Monaco, or Freiburg striker Garra Dembele.

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