Afcon 2017: Mali fail in bid to include Boro's Adama Traore in squad

Adama Traore
Adama Traore has represented Spain at youth level but Mali were keen for him to join them

Middlesbrough winger Adama Traore has not been included in Mali's provisional squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations after opting not to commit himself to the West African country.

The Spain-born winger had been tipped to switch international allegiance to his parents' homeland of Mali.

Brothers Sambou and Moustapha Yatabare are in the 26-man squad.

Crystal Palace winger Bakary Sako is included despite having played only 87 minutes for his club this season.

Mali have never won the Africa Cup of Nations. They were runners-up in 1972 and finished third in 2012 and 2013.

They were knocked out of the last tournament in the group stage but defender Hamari Traore believes the current generation have sufficient firepower to do much better in Gabon this time around.

"We know we are a young squad but we believe we can achieve success together as a team," Traore told BBC Sport.

"Mali have never won this tournament, that is the extra motivation for us to make a good impression.

"Yes there is no big star in our team because everybody is a star and that helps us mentally."

Mali are in Group D alongside four-time winners Ghana, Egypt and Uganda. Their opening match is against seven-time winners Egypt on 17 January.

The tournament kicks of on 14 January with the final on 5 February.

Mali squad:

Goalkeepers: Soumaila Diakité and Djigui Diarra (Stade Malien de Bamako), Oumar Sissoko (Orléans, France)

Defenders: Ousmane Coulibaly (Panathinaikos, Greece), Hamari Traore (Reims, France), Falaye Sacko (Vitória Guimarães, Portugal), Molla Wagué (Udinese, Italy), Salif Coulibaly (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Mohamed Oumar Konaté (RS Berkane, Morocco), Charles Blonda Traoré and Mahamadou N'Diaye (Troyes, France), Youssouf Koné (Lille, France)

Midfielders: Yves Bissouma (Lille, France), Mamoutou N'Diaye (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Lassana Coulibaly (Bastia, France), Yacouba Sylla (Montpellier, France), Samba Sow (Kayserispor, Turkey), Adama Traoré (AS Monaco, France), Sambou Yatabaré (Werder Bremen, Germany), Souleymane Diarra (Ujpest, Hungary), Moussa Doumbia (Rostov, Russia)

Forwards: Moussa Marega (Vitória Guimarães, Portugal), Kalifa Coulibaly (Gent, Belgium), Moustapha Yatabaré (Karabukspor, Turkey), Adama Traoré (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace, England)