Kalilou Traore and Mohamed Fofana out of Nations Cup
Last updated on .From the section Football
Mali's Africa Cup of Nations hopes hit a blow on Wednesday as the Eagles lost two squad members through injury.
Mohamed Fofana is out with a thigh problem while Kalilou Traore will miss the finals after failing to recover from a knee injury.
The news dashes coach Alain Giresse's hopes that the Denmark-based midfielder would recover in time for the finals.
"It's a real shame [as] it's another player lost," said the Frenchman on national television.
"He was one of the four players who had undergone operations who we hoped we'd be able to have in the team - but that's no longer possible."
Traore, 24, has already left Mali's camp in Togo and has been replaced by Souleymane Keita, who plays for Sivasspor in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Toulouse defender Fofana has lost out after suffering a thigh injury during a friendly on Sunday against a local Togolese side.
"Mohamed Fofana injured himself without contact with another player," Giresse explained.
A scan showed that Fofana will not recover and his place has been taken by Jomo Cosmos' Ousmane Berthe, who was dropped from the provisional squad and travellled to the last Nations Cup in Angola.
At this month's finals, Mali will take on Group D rivals Ghana, Botswana and Guinea in the Gabonese city Franceville.
In a separate development, another Malian who was already ruled out of the tournament will now miss the rest of the European season.
Medical tests have revealed that Auxerre defender Adama Coulibaly, who damaged a metatarsal in October, needs another operation to mend a broken bone that is healing slowly.